Musings from New York Fashion Week

By John Wong




You guys know that feeling when you’ve had your black iPhone for so long that you’ve become bored by it?  And now there’s that shiny new pink version that’s “so in” and you just have to have it?  How about that feeling when you’re bored in your relationship and you just want to get out and experiment with other people, explore the world around you more instead of being tied down to someone who can’t even remember your birthday?  I’m only partially kidding about this one, by the way.

Well, the fashion calendar is one of those things.  Specifically, fashion week.  It’s one of those things that’s been tradition, and if you are a member of the fashion glitterati, a socialite (preferably NYC, but we’ll take some of those West Coast wannabes too, I guess), or a Kardashian, you never miss it.

But recently, people have called into question if the concept of “fashion week” is relevant or even beneficial to the industry anymore, and for good reason.  These aren’t even from people who think fashion is stupid as hell; no, this is from prominent individuals in the industry itself.

Let’s stop kidding ourselves right now; the system is really stupid the way it’s set up.  Collections show in either February or September, but won’t be available for rich people to buy until around 4-6 months or so later.  Meanwhile, fast fashion stores like H&M and Zara have already made their own version of Proenza Schouler’s blouses for the everyday teen fashionista to rock.

Brands like Burberry and Rebecca Minkoff have already decided to bend the rules in when and how they show their collections, and right now, here is a quote from fashion god Tom Ford himself:

“In a world that has become increasingly immediate, the current way of showing a collection four months before it is available to consumers is an antiquated idea and one that no longer makes sense. We have been living with a fashion calendar and system that is from another era.”

The most damning evidence of all is, when asked about how New York Fashion Week went, Anna Wintour casually said this:

“The fashion schedule hasn’t moved in a long time and the world has so we have to move with it.”

You hear that?  The woman whose name you fashion people pray to and whose altar you worship has spoken.  Now it’s time for you to listen.

Most fashion shows at fashion week – it doesn’t matter if it’s New York, London, Milan or Paris – have circus-like swarms of editors, writers, fashion wannabes and just plain curious folk outside who can’t get in because they weren’t rich or beautiful or well-connected or had the right names to get in.  Now let’s look at Rebecca Minkoff’s show at this month’s New York Fashion Week: 50 percent of her audience was composed of people who would actually be buying the damn clothes: consumers.  Not to mention the models parading down that runway will be wearing clothes that anybody can buy at that moment.  Besides this being a fantastic method of connecting a brand to an audience member in a more effective manner, it also discourages copycats because now that you will be able to buy the real deal at the same time they are being shown, it will discourage the demand for knockoffs.  It obviously won’t shut down the copycat industry, but it will definitely ding it a little.

It’s high time that other people take notice and start following Ms. Minkoff’s example.  Does it paint fashion week as less of an elite gathering?  Maybe.  But with changing times comes changing demands.  Think about that dull, black iPhone again.  As any true New Yorker will tell you, it’s black so that automatically makes it a classic, but that damn pink keeps creeping into the back of your mind.  Maybe it’s time to invest.



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