Stephen Ross’s Political Donations Spark Relocation of Two Fashion Week Events

Hudson Yards developer’s political fundraising draws criticism

Hudson Yards
A view of Hudson Yards, location of some contentious debates around NYFW events.
T. Tseng/Creative Commons
By Tobias Carroll / August 17, 2019 10:49 am

Developer Stephen Ross, chairman of Related Companies, is one of the major figures behind Hudson Yards, the massive new development on Manhattan’s West Side that’s prompted heated debate from numerous architecture writers around the nation. Stephen Ross is also a major donor for Donald Trump’s re-election campaign, having recently hosted a large fundraiser for the president in the Hamptons.

Now, Ross’s real estate ambitions and his political activity have wound up at odds with one another. Two designers who had previously considered hosting their Fashion Week events at spaces located within Hudson Yards have opted to look elsewhere.

CNN reports that Rag & Bone, who had considered hosting their event at Hudson Yards performing arts venue The Shed, have decided to hold their show at another location. Designer Prabal Gurung has also nixed plans to hold an event at Vessel, the massive structure that’s become a centerpiece of the new development.

In a lengthy Twitter thread, Gurung cited Ross’s fundraising as the reason behind his decision. “My goal here is to start a dialogue and maybe, hopefully, change some minds,” he wrote. 

He closed his thread on a philosophical note. “The absolute truth about our lives is its impermanence, so at the end of the day when it’s our time to go, we can’t take it with us,” Gurung wrote. “So why not simply do the right thing?”

The next installment of New York Fashion Week will begin on September 6, and is set to run through September 14. 

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