Taking place twice a year, from February to March and again from September to October, editors, buyers, celebrities, stylists and other industry personnel gathered in the world’s fashion capitals for the unveiling of top designers new season collections.
These industry festivals are used for buyers to decide what they wanted off of the runways and for editors to figure out what they were going to feature in editorials for their upcoming issues.
Recently, the industry was shocked to find something new when they logged onto the Council of Fashion Designer of America’s (CFDA) Fashion Calendar: an additional New York Fashion Week.
Listed from June 3 to 7, 2018, the event has raised many eyebrows in the industry.
When asked about the new Fashion Week, Mark Beckham, vice president of marketing and events at the CFDA said, “The CFDA did not actually add an additional Fashion Week. Designers have always shown their resort collections during this time period. As designers continue to look for new and different ways to debut their designs, a number have preferred to combine their resort/spring-summer into one show, which is timed to the June dates. To that end, the CFDA formalized and time-stamped a week for designers to focus on.”
Resort collections have typically been shown in the May/June period, so that is nothing new, and as Beckham emphasized, “This is not technically a new week.”
Rather, this appears to be a response to many designers breaking away from the one-size-fits-all approach that Fashion Week had long taken.
The resort collection or cruise collection time frame is essentially an off calendar Fashion Month between May and June when designers show inter-season or pre-season lines of ready-to-wear in addition to their twice-yearly seasonal collections.
Depending on where they are, the Weeks are typically attended by the more local fashion industry professionals, with a few of the major editors and buyers globetrotting for shows like Chanel and Gucci.
The addition of the designated time on the calendar follows on the heels of Alexander Wang, whose runway show has long been one of the biggest headliners of New York Fashion Week, announcing that he would no longer be showing during the traditional February and September time frames.
Instead, he will be showing in June during this new designated time period, and again in December.
On May 10 when the CFDA released the official schedule of June shows, other notable names were on there designated to show their spring/summer collections including Narciso Rodriguez and Rosie Assoulin.
Other well known designers including Anna Sui, Prabal Gurung, Carolina Herrera, and Diane von Furstenburg (who is married to Barry Diller, chairman of IAC, The Daily Beast’s parent company) are on the schedule for their usual resort appointments.
Many are less than pleased at the thought of a new alleged Fashion Week on the calendar.
Blogger Brian Kamotho, of My Left Hand Man, was more than shocked to hear the news. “When I first saw this, I almost emailed the CFDA to ask what is going on,” she said. “I heard about the whole Alexander Wang thing where changed his show dates, and everyone freaked out wondering what’s going to happen with the rest of Fashion Week and if everyone else is going to jump ship and do the same. Why would they think the best response to this is to give them a whole Fashion Week a month before the men’s shows? I much prefer the old way of doing it.”
Many in the industry already see Fashion Week as played out with too many influencers and don’t think the addition of another Fashion Week is helping anything.
Chaunielle Brown, an editorial and celebrity stylist, was once a fixture at New York Fashion Week, but over the past several years she has skipped attending. “Fashion Week has become about the new breed of kiddies invading, those who have beat and skipped just for a moment in the vicious and desirable fashion pond,” she said.
“The very initial purpose has disintegrated. What once was the point of sitting to actually visualize the new looks and stories of next season has been replaced with who’s sitting where next to who for that just right Instagram selfie. It’s become a random circle of madness and a circus.”
However, French luxury label Saint Laurent will reportedly be showing during the new designated time period. For designers showing their resort collections, the great thing about this period is that it aligns with the CFDA Awards, meaning many top fashion industry professionals and A-list celebrities will be in town.
Karen Opong, a marketing director and modeling manager, says that shows have turned into just that, about show. “The purpose of runway shows has traditionally been for buyers and press, but to create a name and promote a brand nowadays it’s all about ‘show’ – meaning publicity and who attended what show,” she said. “It’s becoming less exclusive and less about the collections and more about which big time bloggers or celebrities attended.”
However, she also believes that this could be advantageous for brands more interested in doing press appointments. “With the way Fashion Week has changed, for some brands' press appointments are more need rather than doing a fashion show. Other designers might opt for the press appointment strategy during this period to generate attention for their collections,” she said.
Alex Mondalek, a New York City-based fashion writer, said that the June week might offer designers “reprieve from the craziness the February and September schedules dictate. But the challenge then for them becomes generating the same kind of buzz their shows create during the regular seasons in this ‘new’ season.” She went on to say that, “For example, if Wang’s show doesn’t garner as much press attention in June, would that affect his impressions on a platform like Instagram and this impact sales?”
One of the advantages this new designated time period could have is that designers can finally get more buzz for their resort collections.
Most fashionistas typically just pay attention to the spring/summer and fall/winter collections, but with headlining names and a bit of publicity from the CFDA, resort collections could finally get some much missed attention.
This could result in better sales for resort collections, which have typically have been treated more like step children than the favorite child when compared to spring/summer and fall/winter. While it may just be a small four days, it has the power to potentially disrupt the entire fashion calendar. As Beckham said, “Only time will tell.”