Fashion’s Night Out, a worldwide shopping extravaganza, kicked off its third year last week, holding events across 250 U.S. cities and even in Australia, China, and France. As Anna Wintour’s brainchild, Fashion’s Night Out (“FNO”) is designed to pump revenue into the fashion industry, and in the larger picture, our economy.
This year, FNO in New York City has been described as becoming too popular and the large crowds are making it impossible for consumers to enjoy their shopping experience, which defeats the whole purpose of FNO’s existence. However, despite low retail sales during FNO, this large shopping party undoubtedly gets consumers walking around and retailers will find that their participation will increase the likelihood of repeat visits in the future.
The concept of wining and dining consumers isn’t new. Luxury brand boutiques do it all the time and department stores like Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus offer private shopping parties during the holiday season to their VIP customers every year. For these stores, enticing shoppers with food, wine, and music entices shoppers to buy more. FNO adopts this same idea, but implements it on a larger scale, adding models, celebrities, and the designers themselves into the mix.
Although some like Cathy Horyn raise concerns over the cost-benefit analysis of FNO this year, an event like this is still needed to lift not only the American economy, but the American spirit as well. Our economy is still hovering at 9% unemployment and many have lost hope of finding a job all together. If anything, giving those who are still struggling during this economic downturn a reason to celebrate will produce an economic good, even if it is intangible.
While FNO’s 2011 economic impacts have not been distilled to actual dollar amounts yet, one thing is for certain: getting people excited about fashion is good for the industry and good for the economy.