New York Fashion Week is just around the corner. The thrill of the fashion editors, stylists, buyers, and influencers descending upon lower Manhattan for runway shows, presentations, and stylish parties is on the horizon. However, some in the fashion industry aren’t too keen to describe the upcoming Fashion Week as thrilling.
While the peak of the Omicron outbreak in New York City seems to be over, it has affected some major designers’ plans for showing. Tom Ford, the chairman of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, the U.S. governing fashion body, was originally planning on closing New York Fashion Week as the finale show.
Now, due to supply chain and production issues from the Omicron outbreak, Ford won’t be staging a runway show and is now opting for a digital presentation. Ford is typically one of the biggest headlining acts of New York Fashion Week, and without his name attached to this season, interest is waning.
American fashion designer Thom Browne has also said that instead of showing during New York Fashion Week, he will be showing in April, closer to the Met Gala as the “Superbowl of fashion” returns to the first Monday in May. Browne is typically one of the bigger headliners for New York Fashion week attracting international press, buyers, and celebrities who are major fans of the brand and his spectacular runway shows.
Speaking of the Superbowl, with Superbowl Sunday moving to Feb. 14, this now puts the event in direct competition with New York Fashion Week. While the sports crowd and those who worship the halls of high fashion aren’t often bed fellows, this bodes challenging for brands who were hoping to attract celebrities and sports players who would normally be front row at their shows.
In addition to Ford and Browne not being on this season’s calendar, famed names in American fashion, including Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, and Marc Jacobs are all missing. There are still a few heavy hitters like Michael Kors, Christian Siriano, and Tory Burch on the calendar, but will they be enough to attract the caliber of attendees New York Fashion Week was synonymous with?
“I really don’t know why we’re proceeding with New York Fashion Week with the way things are going.”
— Vincent Lane
Vincent Lane, editor-in-chief of The Garnette Report, said, “I really don’t know why we’re proceeding with New York Fashion Week with the way things are going. Designers are canceling in-person shows left and right. Omicron is still a concern, and this year, New York Fashion Week has to compete with Super Bowl weekend. That means they will likely lose out on a lot of celebrity attendees. Everything seems stacked against New York Fashion Week’s success. Designers who are showing the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday after the Super Bowl have a better chance of attracting the celebrity crowd they want, but as for the designers showing this weekend, good luck.”
“If brands want to throw money at big splash events, people will get excited and want to buy.”
— Zoey Bombschell
Zoey Bombschell, a fashion PR specialist and image consultant, was originally a vocal advocate for pushing New York Fashion Week back to take place after the Paris shows, but she now says, “As much as I believe they should push New York Fashion Week back, to cancel Fashion Week again would be hurtful to an already dying brand. For the last 10 years, New York Fashion Week has been trying to recreate what it was during its heyday before we lost Lincoln Center as the main venue.
“New York Fashion Week can eventually make a comeback if planned correctly. Now more than ever, people are dying to go outside and escape, so they don’t have to remember COVID-19 or quarantine. If brands want to throw money at big splash events, people will get excited and want to buy.”
Catherine Salfino, a retail columnist at Sourcing Journal, who has covered New York Fashion Week for more than 20 years, said, “Last September, I skipped New York Fashion Week because I felt so over it. After surviving COVID-19 myself, I am interested in going. I feel it’s better to have shows now rather than last September because more people are vaccinated, and we have booster shots.
“There’s no reason New York Fashion Week can’t be held if people are fully vaccinated, boosted, and respectful about wearing masks.”
— Catherine Salfino
“For anyone who hasn’t caught COVID-19 within the last month or so, they might feel hesitant about attending—and rightfully so. At this point, so many other indoor events are happening, from concerts to sporting events, so there’s no reason New York Fashion Week can’t be held if people are fully vaccinated, boosted, and respectful about wearing masks.”
When New York Fashion Week returned in September, shows and events were scaled down due to COVID-19 restrictions, many were happy that it had returned into a more selective industry affiliated event rather than the big spectacles they had become in seasons past with thousands of attendees.
Carl Ayers, executive editor of Fashionreverie.com and producer of YouTube series Fashion Reverie talks, said, “Why shouldn’t we have New York Fashion Week? It doesn’t need to be as lavish as it was during the Bryant Park heyday, but Fashion Week, at its core, is still a trade show. It is necessary for media and buyers to attend. We can have New York Fashion Week, and all the non-industry people can stay home and watch on their phones and tablets.”