Ousted designer Kit Willow probably didn’t have to search hard to find a New Year’s resolution. Starting a new fashion venture or getting revenge on The Apparel Group, which booted her from her eponymous label in November, probably both seemed like attractive options. And it appears she may be doing both things in 2014.
In an Instagram post she shared with her 8,000+ followers at the end of December, Podgornik hinted that the Australian fashion industry hasn’t seen the last of her. The post reads:
"2013 marks the end of me in Willow – 2014 marks the beginning of a new dream. Support, love, encouragement, refined skills, clear vision, passionate and clever people, instinct, finely tuned intuition and hard work are just some of the building blocks it takes to create a brand and fashion that endeavours to enrich positive experiences in the lives of the wonderful women I have been honored to dress in the last ten years – unity is strength – positive power will prevail – love to you all.”
At the time of her ousting, the “heartbroken” designer resolved to take legal action against The Apparel Group, which took out an undisclosed stake in Willow before dismissing its founder. Since then, Podgornik has spoken to Vogue UK about the crushing turn of events saying, “I could never have imagined that what has happened would happen… It’s devastating not to be involved in something that I started a decade ago, and something that I have nurtured and grown over the past 10 years.”
Of her possible re-emergence into the local fashion landscape, she said, “For me, designing is almost like being a mother; so I always have the urge to do it, to create something. I’ve taken a lot of comfort from the fact that that the brand lies inside my heart, and wherever I plant it next is where it will grow.”
She’s still fighting with The Apparel Group over lingering contractual issues, but if she can’t regain rights to her own name, she’s in good company. Roland Mouret, John Galliano, Alessandro Dell’Acqua and Jil Sander have all had their rights to their names usurped by their mother companies in recent years. And judging by the responses to Podgornik’s Instagram post, there are plenty of people who’ll buy her designs no matter what the tag reads.