by Amanda Curtis
With the announcement that this will be New York Fashion Week’s last soiree at Lincoln Center and last year with Mercedes Benz as a sponsor, I decided to take a hard look at fashion week and ask, “Is NYFW getting stale?” Here are five reasons why I think it’s time for a fashion week overhaul.
1. THE RUNWAY IS NOW EVERYWHERE.
Fashion shows are the most well-known way to debut new fashion but it’s not the most effective way for consumers to experience it. Standard fashion shows last between 15 – 20 minutes and the looks are on the runway for only a minute. Fashion shows are expensive productions (touched on in Brand, Sweat, and Tears) and brands have taken notice. Many companies are taking the helm and rethinking the concept of presentation like Band of Outsiders’ fashion scavenger hunt or live virtual runways.
2. THE RETAIL CALENDAR IS CHANGING.
Fashion is speeding up as shoppers demand new things all the time. Retailers are starting to respond to this trend by breaking calendar rules and placing smaller orders more frequently throughout the year. Why then do we only have major fashion weeks twice a year? Shouldn’t we have smaller presentations, with more virility built in, all year round?
3. ONE WEEK IS NOT ENOUGH.
New talent gets lost in one crowded week. Along with the four major fashion weeks – New York, London, Milan, and Paris – there are over 40 official fashion weeks around the world. But with mega-funded ‘celebutantes’ and top brands, independent designer shows tend to get lost in the crowd. Why not a separate fashion week for independent brands? Fashion isn’t just for the industry, it should be a celebration of wearable expression and that happens every day.
4. IT’S NO LONGER ALL ABOUT FASHION.
Originally, fashion week was an industry event that has slowly turned into a who’s-who in popular culture. The crowd at the tents has become more of a celebrity red carpet, than a place for fashion lovers, buyers, press, and manufacturers. Many times press picks up on who is sitting front row, rather than on the fashion. We want to hear more about the fashion than #breakingtheinternet.
5. EVEN FW FOUNDERS ARE CALLING FOR CHANGE.
Even Fern Mallis, one of the original creators of Fashion Week, said, “Fashion Week needs to be rethought.“ With the loss of the sponsor and venue, now is the moment for the traditional fashion show model to be rethought as something smarter, more inclusive, and viral.
Fashion should take note of galleries. Smaller, always open exhibits, rotating collections, and inclusive presentations. At Nineteenth Amendment, we have been experimenting with these at our Fashion Previews – rotating presentations in multiple cities of some of the best independent design talent around.
What would you suggest to make fashion week better?