The bright lights, the white tents, the crowds of celebrities and fashionistas . . . this is what dreams are made of . . . or are they? This spring, designers are asking themselves: Is New York Fashion Week all that it’s banged up to be? Each February and September, it seems as if thousands descend upon Manhattan with one goal in mind: to sell and buy the season’s hottest designs that will later populate to local department stores all over the country.
But this year, even though the count is up on the number of designers wishing to show at New York Fashion Week: 283, up about 39% from last year, some designers like Joy Cioci, Katie Holmes, and other smaller and emerging designers are choosing to skip the one-week extravaganza. Why? Because some find it no longer worth it. The weeks leading up to Fashion Week entail fighting over models, fighting with vendors, hiring event coordinating staff . . . all for a 30 minute show that costs anywhere from $30,000 to $1 million. And to rub insult to an incredibly large price tag, the buyers are inundated with designs, decreasing any possibility that designs of a smaller and emerging designers will be bought.
The alternative? Joy Cioci and others are planning to have private, intimate events where buyers will only see their collection. Smart and sassy move: undoubtedly cheaper and in the spotlight.
But does skipping Fashion Week send the wrong message to your consumers or your shareholders? Betsy Johnson consumers were worried that her teetering on whether to show at Fashion Week was a sign that the company was in financial trouble, especially after its declared bankruptcy last year.
Who knows, this could very well be a fashion trend: maybe next year, private fashion show viewings will be popping up all over New York, instead of those lofty white tents.