- Kristopher Fraser |
Fashion talent and creative agency Starworks Group has abruptly shut down. Just three years Vice Media took a majority investment in the company that was expected to help them expand, but amid a mount of debt and legal issues they have ceased operations. The news was reported by WWD.
Starworks was originally founded by James Grant back in 2000 representing talent such as stylists, hairstylists, makeup artists and photographers. Next year would have been their 20th year anniversary, but last week they halted all operations.
The Vice Media investment seemed to do very little for Starworks business, and it is thought that the company was never properly integrated into Vice Media's portfolio. Vice's former CEO, Andrew Creighton, who oversaw the acquisition, left the company in 2018 over sexual harassment allegations. It is thought that Starworks has been unable to pay its clients and freelancers for work, with some, including One Model Management and fashion blog Man Repeller, suing for unpaid invoices.
A lawsuit filed by Starworks Group subsidiary Starworks Artists, a Los Angeles-based agency for beauty industry talent, accuses founder James Grant of practically destroying the company, as well as engaging in unethical and fraudulent business practices. Although Grant has no managerial control of Starworks Artists, the lawsuit says that he engaged in business loan acquisitions without the knowledge of Starworks Artists founders, Samer Fawaz and Lisa Walker, and that they weren't aware that any loans were acquired until they got default notices from lenders.
Vice has been pushing for Starworks Artists to file bankruptcy, but that has yet to happen. Starworks Artists is asking the courts to declare the loan agreements made by Grant unenforceable. At this rate, Grant could be expected to make a court date very soon.