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.

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.”

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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