By Sydney Barnes
New York Fashion Week. What exactly is it? A question asked by many who are not already completely immersed in it. Fashion week happens twice a year, once in September for spring/summer lines, and once in February for fall/winter lines. The week basically allows designers to display their new collections on the runway to buyers, stylists, and influencers. But as interesting as Fashion Week sounds, is it starting to become a thing of the past, and why? Not only are average consumers not relating to NYFW, but designers are also losing interest in it as well. Vox News reports that fashion week seems to dying because it has no real relevance to the way that shoppers today buy things.
The issue does not stem from the trends or popularity of NYFW, but more from the accessibility, price, and overall relevance of the production. NYFW made sense in the 1990s-2000s era when buyers and stylists could see multiple different brands all in one place at one time instead of running around to different venues to catch different shows. At his time NYFW gained popularity from having rising brands included in the show and by also having celebrities attend. However, as we enter into a digital age where people can see pictures, articles, and even live streaming of the event instantly, the true purpose of NYFW seems to be fading away. The event is aimed less at buyers and stylists, and now more at influencers and fashion bloggers. This is a way for the event to stay relevant, but there are multiple reasons as to why it is not working.
Most of the time NYFW is an invite only event which obviously keeps the average consumer away from all the “hype” that surrounds it. Not only does the inaccessibility to the actual show lead to lower interest, but the price and wait time for the pieces shown affect the relevancy as well. Prices for the clothing are astronomically high, making only celebrities or very wealthy individuals being able to buy them. The average time between when a piece is displayed on the runway until when a person can buy the piece is at least six months. Meaning that if you do have the money or interest in buying something from NYFW, the trend or fascination behind it might already be gone by the time it is available. Another reason NYFW does not appeal to average consumers anymore is because people are just not that interested in clothes anymore. According to a report done by Bloomberg, “In 1977, clothing accounted for 6.2 percent of U.S. household spending, according to government statistics. Four decades later, it’s plummeted to half that.” People now are more focused on spending their money on more practical things such as housing or electronics instead of what their wearing.
Although there is still some curiosity and enjoyment surrounding the event, it seems that NYFW is fading fast. Designers and brands are losing interest in the group event and instead are pulling out and putting on their own individual shows where they can control equipment, aesthetic, and price of the show. Consumers are getting tired of the exclusiveness and drawbacks that come with the event. Overall, what used to be a highly publicized and coveted event is now turning into something nobody is talking about anymore. It is possible that NYFW could turn into something great again by appealing to a larger audience or possibly by getting more advertising for the event. For now though, the once prestigious event is losing momentum and relevance in society, and until a change happens in either the production of the event or consumers willingness to buy highly priced clothing, it will only continue to do so.
Header photo from amny.com
Jennings, Rebecca. “Why Fashion Week Doesn’t Make Sense Anymore.” Vox, Vox, 8 Feb. 2019, www.vox.com/the-goods/2019/2/4/18206907/new-york-fashion-week-2019-death.
Rupp, Lindsey, et al. “The Death of Clothing.” Bloomberg.com, Bloomberg, 5 Feb. 2018, www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2018-death-of-clothing/.