Jake, Chicago specialty retailer

Strength in numbers: 28 designers have grouped together to file an involuntary petition against Jake for debts owed. Photo: shopjake.com

Talk about fashion designers having it tough! Not only do they have to contend with shoppers not shopping, but they also have to hound retailers to pay them!

And since misery loves company, these unpaid arbiters of style may have found solace (or revenge!) in joining forces.

Twenty-eight designers have together filed an involuntary bankruptcy petition against Chicago retailer Jake for $516,000 worth of debts owed, reports WWD.

The list of labels reads like a who's who of the fashion set and includes 3.1 Phillip Lim, Loeffler Randall, Erin Fetherston, Lutz & Patmos, Chris Benz and Costello Tagliapietra, just to name a few.

In the petition, designers are claiming amounts owed ranging from $860 to $48,000.

Jeffrey Costello talked to the source about the $20,000 his company Costello Tagliapietra is out since working with Jake, "I know that sounds small, but a company like ours, that's a big chunk of change."

Erin Fetherston is among the long list of designers filing an involuntary bankruptcy petition against Chicago retailer Jake. Photo: Stephen Lovekin, Getty Images


But the designers may never see the money owed. Jake co-founder Lance Lawson originally started the boutique chain under Price Allen Inc., but the company was disbanded when the three Jake shops did not meet profit quotas.

A group of investors bought Price Allen's remaining assets but didn't take on any of the bad debts-- presumably, according to Lawson, what the designers are owed, reports the site.

Still the designers are ramping up for the Sept. 15 hearing.

"Jake has been part of the conversation but it also has led to bigger conversations about fashion and where the business is going," Tina Lutz, co-founder of Lutz & Patmos, tells WWD.

But on a positive note, Lutz adds, "You feel like you are part of a community and have a support chain, which is so important especially now when it is so difficult to get paid by stores. You could spend you whole day chasing money."

Jake may not be the only fashion company forced into involuntary bankruptcy. Read about Ellen Tracy's financial woes here.