Fashion Week has long been an exclusive event for magazine editors and celebrities, but the brains behind the biannual event want to change that.
And it could mean that you’ll have the chance to attend those exclusive shows.
The Council of Fashion Designers of America — the organization behind the events — is hoping to refocus the shows to be more consumer-centered. Traditionally, each week showcases the fashions designers’ plans for the next season, but that long wait is affecting sales.
“We have designers, retailers and everybody complaining about the shows. Something’s not right anymore because of social media, people are confused,” said Diane von Fürstenberg, designer and chairman of the CFDA, told Women’s Wear Daily, adding that most of us don’t like having to wait six months after seeing something we like on the runway. “Everyone seems to feel that the shows being consumer-driven is a very good idea,” she said.
A couple of designers are already changing the way they do shows. For 2016, Rebecca Minkoff plans to have “retailers and their best customers” make up 30 to 50 percent of the show audience, according to Refinery29. Her “buy-now, wear-now show” will showcase items that will be ready for purchase at the designer’s namesake stores and retail partners immediately after the final model hits the runway.
“What we’re showing is what’s available right then and within 30 to 60 days out, as well as a capsule of things you haven’t seen,” Minkoff told WWD. Designer Thakoon is planning a similar shift for 2016 by adopting a “show now, see now, buy now, wear now” focus and will possibly skip out of NYFW week show altogether.
Will this help high-end designers compete with fast fashion outlets like Forever 21 and Zara? Retailers sure hope so.
“[T]echnology has utterly changed everything in our industry,” Ken Downing, senior vice president, fashion director of Neiman Marcus, told WWD. “That customer continues to follow Instagram and Twitter and watches the live-stream of fashion shows. When they are seeing clothes, they are less aware of seasons. What they are seeing, they want.”
But really, we just want the opportunity to sit front row with Anna Wintour while watching a show. OK, so maybe not front row… but at least in the same building.