In late December, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) announced that it would rethink the format of fashion week.  Following the hotly debated fashion industry ‘burnout’ many designers and creative influencers face, the CFDA engaged the Boston Consulting Group to conduct a study to examine and help define the future of fashion shows.

President of the CFDA, Diane von Furstenberg, told Women’s Wear Daily (WWD) that the potential format change is in response to both industry influencers and consumers alike.  The current format of New York Fashion Week is twice a year, where spring/summer collections are presented in September and the fall/winter collections are presented in February.  Since the upcoming collections are presented well in advance of when they drop in stores, but are shared across social media in real time, consumers are often confused about the timing of collections.  And according to the designers, it's the consumers who the fashion week is geared towards the most.

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Rebecca Minkoff runway show via

A drastic change to an industry staple will definitely take time.  But ideally, von Furstenberg envisions designers hosting small showroom presentations for the retailers and press continuing the current timeline of six months in advance.  However the designers would also have runway shows ‘with all the bells and whistles for a consumer audience showing in-season merchandise —and getting all the positive benefits from the social media phenomenon’, according to WWD.  This shift would also give the press more time to work on the show reviews and designer profiles if they were to see the collections in private presentations versus having to race to be the first publication to post

Designer Rebecca Minkoff is already moving in this direction.  She recently announced that her runway show this February will be showing her current spring merchandise and consumers will represent up to fifty percent of her show’s audience.

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As society advances technologically, older conventions will need to be remodeled and NYFW is no exception.

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As our society advances technologically, older systemic conventions will need to be remodeled to keep up and New York Fashion Week is no exception. Social media plays a crucial role to fashion weeks all over the world and bloggers occupy more front row seats than ever before.  Additionally, consumers have 24/7 access to fashion shows through their Instagram feed and industry influencers’ Snapchat accounts.  So it would only make sense for designers to show their appreciation to their customers and invite them into these bi-annual runway shows.  While it may be hard to think about a different kind of New York Fashion Week — an institution that has been a part of the city for over 70 years now— it is amongst the many changes the industry needs as technology continues to influence the way consumers access and choose brands.

 

Gabriella Bower is a student at New York University.  Her two passions have always been fashion and philanthropy and she works to incorporate both aspects into her life as often as she can.  Read more of Gabriella’s work ranging from current trends to short essays and social justice oriented posts on her blog Read Between the Hemlines.

 

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