The impact of billionaire investor Stephen Ross’ fundraiser for Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign continue to ripple. Following customer boycotts of Ross-owned Related Companies’ Equinox and Soulcycle, New York-based Fallon jewelry designer Dana Lorenz submitted a letter on Friday (August 9, 2019) formally canceling her CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America) membership. In the letter, Lorenz explained she was quitting organization in protest of the board membership of Kara Ross, who’s married to Ross.
While Ross is described as a jewelry designer and in 2008 was awarded the Fashion Group International Rising Star Accessories Award, at the moment she doesn’t appear to be actively designing or selling.
In Lorenz’s letter posted on Instagram, she wrote, “I will no longer be a part of what seems to be allowing a pay for play, money over merit arrangement with someone that clearly wants to advance an agenda that is hurting many businesses large and small with this trade war. I do not feel [Ross’] views speak for me as a member and I will not allow her to make decisions on my behalf.”
Referencing an Ross Instagram post featuring a rainbow, Lorenz added, “Yesterday, while Mrs. Ross was putting finishing touches on her Trump fundraiser, I was making sure my sobbing housekeeper had her entire family’s documents in order, a woman with three years’ citizenship living in fear. It is not enough to post rainbows on your Instagram feed. Do something.”
In addition to Lorenz, designer Prabal Gurung announced on Wednesday that he canceled discussions over plans to host his September fashion week show at Manhattan’s Hudson Yards, which was developed and is partially owned by Ross. The push back from Gurung casts a cloud over rumors the CFDA-organized New York Fashion Week is planning to base the event in Hudson Yards.
In an interview with WWD, Lorenz stated, “I wasn’t looking for any kind of response, I just wanted to remove myself,” said Lorenz, whose label is sold in more than 150 stores globally.
Lorenz added, “I wish more people would stop worrying if they are on some sort of guest list or red carpet when it comes to doing what’s right. I think it’s time for everyone to draw a line in the sand. I don’t think you can vote for a tax rate but not also racism and the denial of climate change. I’m not going to look back in time at this moment in history and see myself as a coward.”
CFDA CEO Steven Kolb issue his own statement, which read: “We are sorry that Dana Lorenz has made the decision to leave the CFDA. As a non-profit 501(c)(6) organization in the United States, the CFDA does not participate in political campaigns and is legally restricted to do so.
Check out Lorenz’s letter and Ross’ rainbow flamingos below.