NYFW: Consumer First?
In our consumer-facing society, it almost seems like an odd question. Why wouldn’t the consumer be first? But it’s also the question that needs asking in the often insular and confusing world of fashion week.
Today, WWD reports that the Council of Fashion Designers of America is asking some tough questions about NYFW’s structure, as part of a bold plan to potentially rethink fashion week from the ground up. They’ve retained Boston Consulting Group to “conduct a study to define the future of fashion shows.”
It’s no secret — as we’ve been reporting since 2012 — that fashion week has become a form of entertainment. And although many have resisted the change, it’s only one part of a system that the CFDA describes as “broken.”
The seasonal aspect itself is confusing, to say the least. (“Wait, September is Spring?”) But just as importantly, showing collections 6 months in advance has an ugly way of coming back to bite designers in the form of “fast fashion” retailers, who have ample time to copy designers’ styles and get them to market at a lower price point … and often before the designers themselves.
Some of the new ideas include “smaller showroom presentations and appointments with retailers and press to show the collection six months out and to place orders. They then would have a runway show with all the bells and whistles for a consumer audience showing in-season merchandise — and getting all the positive benefits from the social media phenomenon.”
Here at FWO, we think these are exciting ideas, and will serve designers in several key ways, while simplifying things for the public, and — most importantly — addressing the real need of consumers to buy the things they love today … not in 6 months.
If the CFDA has its way, these changes may soon be coming to NYFW … and possibly the other “Big 3,” as well.