New York’s fashion week includes over 500 fashion shows with over 20,000 people descending on Manhattan for the madness.
The invitation-only fashion shows, coupled with an economic climate in which retail sales in August dropped for the 12th straight month makes one wonder if actual shoppers are even a part of the fashion loop anymore. While the fashion shows will be picked over, blogged about, and discussed within hours after they take place, there is a disconnect when shoppers consider that the styles they see won’t be in stores for six months.
Whereas the designers’ runway schedule (show spring clothes in fall, fall clothes in spring) allows them time to produce the full line of clothes and allows the big fashion glossies to get their magazines ready well in advance, the fact that consumers everywhere can see next year’s line as soon as it debuts on the catwalk throws a wrench in the system. The new crop of “first responder” shoppers doesn’t want to wait six months to be able to buy a goody they saw in a fashion show.
The Council of Fashion Designers of America recently held a forum about just this problem. When the retailers push designers too hard on their deliveries, fall merchandise shows up in stores in July and consumers respond by waiting for them to be marked down. One response has been the new Fashion’s Night Out, an effort to increase sales of clothes and accessories that are in season now. There is talk that it could become a permanent fixture at New York Fashion Weeks of the future.