Last week I wrote about a ridiculous article in New York Magazine citing a Harvard Business Review study which concluded that Michelle Obama has generated $2.7 billion in value for clothing companies. This is due to what is claimed is the public clamoring for anything worn by the First Lady.
In that post, I cited evidence to the contrary — two designers who have done exactly what you might expect in an Obama economy and gone out of business.
Here’s another story that makes the Harvard Business Review’s “Michelle Obama is a one-woman fashion stimulus!” story even more laughable:
Even a boost from Michelle Obama hasn’t helped ease New York designer Tracy Feith’s financial woes.
Feith and longtime partner Susan Winget have been virtually invisible as of late, which may have something to do with the more than $200,000 he and his company owe to landlords in Manhattan and in Montauk.
In January 2009, Feith got the most coveted fashion seal of approval – outfitting the First Lady – when Obama stepped out in his floral frock during inauguration festivities. By May of that year, however, Feith was evicted from the Madison Ave. storefront (between 93rd and 94th Sts.) where he operated his boutique. By December, a judgment was issued in Manhattan Supreme Court ordering Feith’s corporation to pay $77,060.38 in rent he owed to his landlord, KPLJ LLC.
And last August, another judgment handed down in Supreme Court determined that Feith himself was on the hook for an additional $152,745.27 because he had personally guaranteed the lease. (The amount includes court costs and damages.)
I’m thinking “fashion designer bailout.”
If Michelle Obama is giving the fashion industry a $2.7 billion boost, it’s only because most of that $2.7 billion is not being used to pay debts.