The Decline Of Fashion Week

You have heard it all before…Fashion week is…D-E-A-D.

But why? What made it alive to begin with? Despite the fact that fashion week still very much exists, people have been arguing about its death for years.

To begin with, let’s look at what Fashion Week actually is, and what it originally set out to be.  In the simplest terms, it’s when designers present their collections to buyers, media, and other industry professionals. The point is to take orders on pieces before going into production, and to generate buzzworthy press.  Before Fashion Week there were “press weeks” that took place every Spring and Fall where editors and buyers could preview a designers collection, allowing them time to prepare magazing layouts or plan product presentations at stores.

New York Fashion Week as it exists now didn’t begin officially until 1993, when Fern Mallis, then the executive director of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, sought to centralize the scattered process of editors and buyers running around to various runway shows all over the city.

Some would argue that the problem is that costs and competition have become so bloated that it’s a vanity project at best.  Others bemoan the current reign of social media “influencers” or industry outsiders who have completely disrupted the usual flow.  Some would say the insanely fast turnaround expectations brought on by fast fashion are to blame.  However, a lot of the discussion comes down to the fact that we just don’t buy clothing the same way we used to—most brands market direct to consumer and some even bypass the entire wholesale market altogether, so the benefits of running a show become relegated to mostly press only, and for many designers the cost simply isn’t worth it. Either way you look at it, the fashion calendar has been changing, and the industry is in a period of flux coming to terms with what this means down the road.  However, I think we can all agree…who doesn’t enjoy a good show….?