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Iconic Australian fashion label Alice McCall enters into voluntary administration due to coronavirus

IMAGES VIA ALICE MCCALL

WORDS BY JULIETTE CAPOMOLLA

Another one bites the dust.

In another blow to Australia’s fashion industry, popular Australian designer Alice McCall announced yesterday that her brand will be entering into voluntary administration. In a statement, McCall attributed the downfall of the brand to the coronavirus pandemic and unsustainable brick-and-mortar operations. 

Designers like McCall have suffered through a year of sweatpants and hoodies where the demand for a new frock has been practically nonexistent. With events like the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival and the Brownlow Red Carpet unfolding quite differently than normal this year, unfortunately, Alice McCall is unlikely to be the last Australian designer brand to make this tough call. 

Back in June, McCall told The Sydney Morning Herald that the brand would experiment with a pre-order business model in order to manage costs during the pandemic. Evidently, the longevity of lockdown and coronavirus rendered even this model unsustainable.

The Australian-based label first made its debut at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in 2004. Since then, the brand has opened 14 stores across Australia and has been worn by the likes of Queen B herself. Scheduled to launch this week is McCall’s children’s wear collaboration with Cotton On. Being a mother herself, this capsule collection is reportedly a dream come true for the designer.

Coronavirus has already taken out other popular Australian labels earlier this year such as swimwear labels Tigerlily and Seafolly Australia. Luckily for Seafolly, the brand was saved and repurchased by its original owner, but a similar fate does not appear likely for Alice McCall. 

Not to fret though; the brand’s brick-and-mortar stores, as well as its online store, are still open and operational for the moment. Although, this is unlikely to be for very long, according to the administrators. The forewarned closure of a number of stores will result in many retail job losses, but for now, head office jobs are reportedly safe.  

If you’re an Alice McCall fan, luckily it doesn’t appear that the designer is ready to throw in the towel just yet. The decision to enter into voluntary administration was one she took in order to reinvent the brand’s business model to allow her to continue to design, and it looks like she won’t let the pandemic take her business without a fight. 

alicemccall.com.au

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