New York Fashion Week’s Award Show Energy
Even the “in” crowd is wondering what they’re doing there.
New York Fashion Week may as well be a bunch of producers in penguin suits sitting in an auditorium listening to corny jokes and waiting for an after party, because it’s giving award show. Only now, it’s unclear if there are even any good after-parties anymore. Though not exactly an after party, people seemed to like the Strokes concert paid for by J. Crew, but one friend said to me: “Did you see the J. Crew logo? It looked like a bank!” He wasn’t wrong. The whole thing had the vibe of the finale to a Goldman Sachs day of team-building.
A few things have preserved New York Fashion Week past its point of necessity (it’s not like buyers or consumer need all these shows to decide what to stock or what to wear). One, gatekeepers like Anna Wintour, who has long treated championing New York talent almost like a charitable cause (see: the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, which grants money and mentorship to designers chosen by her committee of judges). Rather than look beyond fashion shows as a marketing tool and try to come up with another way for labels to spend all that money, she actually decided to start one of her own: Vogue World, a ticketed event for consumers that takes place for the second time in London on Thursday and feels only slightly less confusing than it did last year. (This year’s features “opera singers and supermodels, fashion designers and ballerinas — creatively overseen by BAFTA- and Olivier-winning director Stephen Daldry and led by Vogue.”)
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Second, fashion public relations firms profit from putting on fashion week events, and it’s likely easier to keep those going than come up with a modernized way of marketing designers and new collections.
Finally, the small group of people who got to go to NYFW — editors, influencers, buyers, Blake Lively — always kind of liked it, even if they complained about it to one another. Complaining about fashion week is the champagniest of champagne problems, and maybe that’s why it largely happened behind the scenes in the past. Now, this rarified group is flat-out wondering: what is the point of all of this anymore?
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