The current state and direction of New York Fashion Week

New York Fashion Week was once the bi-yearly fashion extravaganza of all fashion extravaganzas. Between the grab bags of products, the chance encounter to run into A-list celebrities and the seats filled to the brims with top magazine editors, the entire event was like a fairytale. Since its days at Bryant Park though, Fashion Week has gone through many changes. From its move over to Lincoln Center, then to Skylight Moynihan and Skylight Clarkson Square, and most recently to Spring Studios, the event has seen more moves than an army brat with a consistently re-stationed military father.

The crowd has certainly changed as well. While New York Fashion Week was once exclusive to press, buyers, and select other industry personnel, it has since become a sea of bloggers, influencers and a few select reality stars. Like all things, New York Fashion Week has evolved. There has been the question by many in the industry though of whether or not New York Fashion Week has lost its luster.

The current state and direction of New York Fashion Week

What's the matter with New York Fashion Week?

Some in the industry who have been with Fashion Week since the Bryant Park days saw it as an inevitable evolution that has had its pros. Event producer Patty Hughes still remembers the days of Seventh on Sixth productions. Back in those days, Parsons was also used as a venue. Being in Bryant Park was very convenient for the Condé Nast editors, who were then located at 4 Times Square, and the Hearst editors who were just up the street at the Hearst Tower on 57th Street.

While many still reminisce about the Bryant Park days, Hughes felt moving on from the tents was a logical next step for New York Fashion Week. "Fashion changes, and we have to change with it," she says. "Truth is, we had gotten too big, so we needed a new venue. The first season at Lincoln Center was amazing. Everyone was so excited to be somewhere new, and everyone wanted to come see it."

Like all things though, Fashion Week was bound to continue changing. "The audience became different," Hughes said. "That's not anything negative or positive, but it was inevitable. At the same time, the whole nature of the world and the industry changed. We got bloggers, we got Facebook, we got Instagram, and no one expected it to change so quickly. Fashion wasn't such a community anymore, which is no fault of Fashion Week itself, but it was different in the days before social media when it was at one central hub."

Hughes isn't the only one who misses the days of Fashion Week being one central hub, although some are much more fatigued by the situation. A fashion columnist at a notable publication, who asked to remain anonymous, told FashionUnited, "I'm not a big fan of Spring Studios at all. The lobby is much too small, and the runway venues are fine, but I'm not here for a view of the outdoors." She added that, "The turnaround between there and trying to get to other venues like Skylight Modern and Pier 59 is wrong. I’ve missed good shows because there was no way I could get to them because I was attending two others at some other venue. You end up making choices based on what takes less travel."

The current state and direction of New York Fashion Week

Others have expressed similar dissatisfaction with Spring Studios as a venue as well. An account executive at a PR firm, who also asked to remain anonymous, told FashionUnited, "I don't see it lasting at [Spring Studios]." She added that, "Between the load in and load out time, the amount of time it takes people to get up in the elevators, and the even more delayed start times for shows than usual, we need a new venue already."

On the venue front, there is hope on the horizon. In September 2017, Hudson Yards developer Kenneth Himmel began lobbying for Hudson Yards to be the permanent home of New York Fashion Week. While IMG, the largest producer of shows at NYFW, has declined to state how long their deal with Spring Studios is for, Hudson Yards is expected to be completed next year in 2019.

While attendees are dreaming of a new venue, the bloggers, influencers and social media presence are without question here to stay. Things will without question continue to change in the industry, but who knows what will happen next. In the immortal words of Coco Chanel though, "Fashion is at once a caterpillar and a butterfly."

photo 1: Frazer Harrison for Dan Liu
photo 2: Geremy Dubensy for JXY Cuso
photo 3: Getty Images


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