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The evolution of New York Fashion Week

Has Instagram killed the catwalk?
New York Fashion Week

Since its inception in 1942, New York Fashion Week(NYFW) has been one of the biggest events in the who’s-wearing-who world. Along with shows in Paris, Milan and London, it’s a mainstay of the “Big 4,” where industry titans like Chanel, Givenchy and Dior unveil uber-couture collections no mere mortal could ever afford … or pull off.

Entrance and access to NYFW similarly used to be reserved for the super rich and the super influential — non-Anna Wintours/A-list clothes horses could only imagine the glitz and glamour of the semi-annual event (traditionally held in September and February, to preview upcoming fashion seasons). However, the advent and rise of social media and the increasing popularity of street style over haute couture have both dimmed NYFW’s exclusivity, making both visibility of the events and accessibility of the clothes available to a far larger audience.

And that’s not a bad thing!

This month’s fall iteration of NYFW (Feb. 8-16) is shaping up to be one of the most unique fashion weeks yet. Venues have changed over the years, evolving from major locations (like Bryant Park and Lincoln Center) to smaller, hipper locales. This year, IMG (the major talent management company responsible for producing NYFW since 2010) has partnered with creative agency Spring and will present the majority of the week’s shows at the agency’s Spring Studios in Tribeca. But that’s not the only modification we can expect.

Here are some of the most noteworthy changes for 2018:


* No more September issue? A lot of both established designers like Rebecca Minkoff and up-and-coming names are skipping it. Instead they’reeither banking on the remaining Big 3 shows, or abstaining entirely. Reasons vary, but many movers-and-shakers are creating their wears (sic.) with the modern sensibility that people want what they want when they want it — fashion shouldn’t be dictated by a 76 year old calendar. Not to mention the fact that furs and fleece attract little interest in Los Angeles, São Paulo and Sydney — markets no one was considering back in the early days of Fashion Week.

Alexander Wang made the unprecedented announcement that while he’d keep his shows in New York, he was moving them to a June/December schedule. And if this trend takes hold, it could render NYFW obsolete. Bye, Felicia!

* Major fashion houses are cancelling conventional runway shows and instead relying on Instagram influencersto share their creations. As millennial fashionistas consume clothing online, NYFW’s IRL shows aren’t so important. Moreover, the immediacy of social media and instant info have made fashion forward audiences even more impatient. When you’re rolling with a black AMEX in 2018 you’re not about to wait for a particular week twice a year to get your runway look.  

* Models will finally get private changing areas. Yes, finally. Because up until now they were expected to strip down in full view of a crowd of designers, stylists, production crew, photographers and anyone else with a backstage pass. This has long been an industry standard for efficiency more than anything else — time between changes is notoriously brief — but the #MeToo movement has given models the confidence to voice misgivings they’ve long held about the whole thing.

* Some designers have decided to stage “digital only” shows. One designer who will be noticeably absent from the shows? Marchesa. This is important, because Marchesa co-founder Georgina Chapman (you used to know her as a frequent guest judge on Project Runway but now you’ll recognize her as Mrs. Harvey Weinstein — for now, at least) wisely opted to cancel her presence this year.

* Victoria Beckham’s line will celebrate a decade of London Fashion Week catwalks this year, but she’s eschewing NYC runways and instead hosting a series of more intimate mini-showsat the posh (spice!) James Burden Mansion on the Upper East Side.

* All signs point to even more inclusivity at this week’s events; record-setting numbers of plus-size models and models of color are scheduled to perform.

* Planned Parenthood will get the spotlight at NYFW, as more than 40 designers are participating in an initiative called “Fashion Stands with Planned Parenthood,” the brainchild of the Council of Fashion Designers(CFDA). They encourage presenters, attendees and media outlets alike to use #IStandWithPP to get the message out.

* Virtual reality goes runway! Welcome to 2018: Designer Rebecca Taylor is set to partner with Tilt Brush by Google to present an immersive 3-D experience in the Meatpacking District.

* Finally, Kendall Jenner might walk in another naked dress. We guess something’s to be said for “tradition”?


New York Fashion Week Facts

·      NYFW is from Thursday, February 8 to Friday, February 18

·      Expect congestion around Varick and Canal Streets during this time

·      One-day VIP access passes are still available to the general public for $1,799 (!!!)

·      Feel like catching a show for free, in the comfort of your most fashionable footie-pyjamas? Stream them on www.fashionweekonline.com/live

·      www.nyfw.com has complete schedule information