Fashion's Night Out Is Happening Again--So How Do Retailers Feel About It?

Love it or hate it, Fashion's Night Out is slated to return this coming September for the fourth year in a row. While organizers can't commit to a date yet because fashion week schedules are still being worked out, it is usually held on the first Thursday evening of New York Fashion Week. Which means it will most likely take place on either September 6 or September 13 in 2012. Stores who wish to participate can start registering this spring. Anna Wintour's pet project has grown exponentially since it first debuted in 2009. Most recently, a slew of Vogue magazine editors descended upon Tokyo for its post-tsunami comeback FNO--more than 400 retailers in Japan participated. It's expected that about 250 US stores will participate this year. After this last FNO, we asked: Do people actually shop? Is it worth it?
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Love it or hate it, Fashion's Night Out is slated to return this coming September for the fourth year in a row. While organizers can't commit to a date yet because fashion week schedules are still being worked out, it is usually held on the first Thursday evening of New York Fashion Week. Which means it will most likely take place on either September 6 or September 13 in 2012. Stores who wish to participate can start registering this spring. Anna Wintour's pet project has grown exponentially since it first debuted in 2009. Most recently, a slew of Vogue magazine editors descended upon Tokyo for its post-tsunami comeback FNO--more than 400 retailers in Japan participated. It's expected that about 250 US stores will participate this year. After this last FNO, we asked: Do people actually shop? Is it worth it?
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Love it or hate it, Fashion's Night Out is slated to return this coming September for the fourth year in a row. While organizers can't commit to a date yet because fashion week schedules are still being worked out, it is usually held on the first Thursday evening of New York Fashion Week. Which means it will most likely take place on either September 6 or September 13 in 2012. Stores who wish to participate can start registering this spring.

Anna Wintour's pet project has grown exponentially since it first debuted in 2009. Most recently, a slew of Vogue magazine editors descended upon Tokyo for its post-tsunami comeback FNO--more than 400 retailers in Japan participated. It's expected that about 250 US stores will participate this year.

After this last FNO, we asked: Do people actually shop? Is it worth it? The CFDA's Steven Kolb thinks so, telling WWD, "Fashion’s Night Out has become an important event for the industry, and after each FNO, we look back and reflect on the participation and activity...There is real value in it." Lots of celebs show up and lots of people drink the free liquor, but we learned that they don't shop much. Is the exposure enough to make it worth it for retailers?

It's unclear. We contacted a bunch of local independent boutiques here in NYC for their take on FNO. Most were reluctant to speak about it because, as one said, "I just don't want to position ourselves up against Vogue!" Sometimes silence is stronger than words.

Other stores had a positive take, but acknowledged that it's not really a moneymaker. Jen Mankins, owner of bird in Brooklyn, told us via email, "I see Fashion's Night Out as a great excuse to collaborate with designers to create a fun, easy, price conscious product that is limited and exclusive to my stores. It is also a good excuse to throw a fun party and invite customers to come celebrate the new season. I also always have a local charitable contribution component to the evening, so it is a great way to raise funds for doing good here in the city. It is a lot of work, and demands a lot of time and energy and money to pull it off, but we always have a great time and it is always our best party of the year."

Are you excited for FNO? Will you participate in the madness yet again?