Gone But Not Forgotten: A Look Back at Acclaimed Fashion Brands


“Fashion: one day you’re in, and the next you’re out.” These words were made famous by supermodel and television host Heidi Klum during the first 16 seasons of “Project Runway,” and have become one of the most famous catchphrases in fashion. For decades, fashion houses have come and gone, whether they were victims of WWII, economic strife in modern times, or designers moving on from fashion to other ventures.

Many brands whose names once commanded power in the fashion industry have either lost their hype, shuttered, or are nowhere to be found. Just because these brands are gone doesn’t mean they have faded from the fabric of fashion’s tapestry. Fashion Reverie looks back at brands that are gone but not forgotten.

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Claude Montana

French fashion designer Claude Montana founded his company, The House of Montana, in 1979. Montana became famous for the exaggerated shoulder pads in his designs, earning the nickname “King of the Shoulder Pad.” During the eighties, when dramatic shoulder pads were one of the biggest trends, Montana was on top of the world. Sadly, his business went bankrupt in 1997. Montana passed away in February 2024, leaving a legacy for fashion history books.

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Stephen Burrows

Stephen Burrows was one of the few groundbreaking black designers during the ‘60s and ‘70s when black designers were few and far between. He gravitated between operating his line and working for Henri Bendel. Burrows also famously participated in the Battle of Versailles, a competition between five notable American fashion designers versus five notable Parisian designers.

Although Burrows no longer regularly presents collections, the legendary designer is still alive at 80 years old. In 2006, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) honored him with the Board of Directors Special Tribute. In 2010, he also designed a collection for Target and collaborated with Raven Denim and QVC UK.

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Chado Ralph Rucci

Ralph Rucci is arguably one of the most highly regarded designers in the history of modern American fashion. In 2002, he became the first American designer in 60 years (since Main Rousseau Bocher of Mainbocher) to be invited by the French Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, France’s governing fashion body, to present in Paris. For five seasons, Rucci would show his couture collection in Paris.

In 2014, he left his label, but he still operates RR331, a fashion line he launched in 2016. Though Rucci doesn’t participate in the fashion cycle regularly, he’s still a highly respected name in fashion. It’s been reported he’s opened a couture salon, and he’s expected to return to the couture calendar in the near future.

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Jay Godfrey

Jay Godfrey was known for his evening wear, cocktail dresses, and love of using extra tall models for his Fashion Week presentations. For years, he had a regular spot on the New York Fashion Week (NYFW) calendar. He also dressed top celebrities, like Eva Mendes and Carrie Underwood. Sadly, Godfrey’s business became a casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic, and he shuttered his business. His dresses can still be found on resale sites, like The Real Real and Vestiaire Collective.

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Thakoon Panichgul was seemingly on top of the world during the height of his career in the ’00s.

He was a 2006 runner-up for the Vogue/CFDA Fashion Fund Award, which supports emerging fashion brands with capital and mentorship. His clothes were worn by First Lady Michelle Obama, actresses Sarah Jessica Parker and Demi Moore.

In 2009, he produced a collection for Target that broadened his status as a household name. However, the brand went on hiatus in the ‘10s. In 2019, Panichgul attempted to relaunch his brand direct-to-consumer on Thakoon.com, but the site is now defunct. He now runs a media platform called Homme Girls.

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Band of Outsiders

Band of Outsiders was founded in Los Angeles by Scott Sternberg in 2004. Throughout the ‘00s and the first half of the ‘10s, the brand had a strong following, particularly among the menswear crowd.

Originally, all Band of Outsider’s button-downs were made in Los Angeles, and their suits in Brooklyn, making it one of the few brands with a lot of made-in-America product. Sadly, the brand went bankrupt in 2015. In 2018, Sternberg attempted to make a comeback with a new brand called Entireworld, but the brand ceased operations in 2021.

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Designers Josh Hupper and Qiaoran Huang managed to build a cult following over the 12 years they had their label, but in 2022, they decided to bring it to an end. In Instagram post, the pair described it as “an extremely difficult decision.” At the time they had their brand, they became synonymous with Chinese street style. Babyghost’s products were even sold on Chinese e-commerce platforms Taobao and Tmall.

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Cloak had its fifteen minutes of fame. The brand, founded in 2000 by Alexandre Plokhov, was a recipient of the 2005 Swarovski Perry Award for Menswear and the 2004 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Award supporting emerging designers.

Cloak became well known with the New York City downtown crowd, opening a boutique on Greene Street in New York’s SoHo boutique district in 2005.

Unfortunately, Cloak was shut down in 2007 due to partnership agreements. Plokhov would go on to designer for Versace menswear and Helmut Lang. In 2010, Plokhov attempted to launch a line under his name, but the eponymous label shuttered in 2015.

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Models Milla Jovovich and Carmen Hawk founded Jovovich-Hawk in 2003 in Los Angeles. Their pieces quickly found top retailers, including Fred Segal and Harvey Nichols. Eventually, their points of sale worldwide would total over 50 stores. In 2006, the brand was a finalist for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund.

In 2008, Jovovich-Hawk also debuted a collection for Target. Despite their incredible momentum, in 2008 the brand ceased operations. The designers seemed to have the opposite problem of many brands who cease operations due to declining sales, with both founders saying the reason for ceasing operations was because the brand got too big for them to handle.

Kristopher Fraser










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