The CFDA is Rethinking the Fashion Week Format

Potential developments include more intimate presentations for industry folk and runway shows tailored to retailers and consumers.
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Maria Bobila
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Potential developments include more intimate presentations for industry folk and runway shows tailored to retailers and consumers.
Outside of the Skylight at Moynihan Station during Spring 2016 New York Fashion Week: The Shows. Photo: Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Outside of the Skylight at Moynihan Station during Spring 2016 New York Fashion Week: The Shows. Photo: Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Since acquiring the Fashion Calendar in 2014, the CFDA has made a fair amount of changes to New York Fashion Week, including creating a new logo, choosing two new official venues and launching an online-only digital resource for its calendar. (The association has also rescheduled and moved locations for New York Fashion Week: Men’s.) But wait, there's more: The CFDA announced on Tuesday that it will work with global management consulting firm Boston Consulting Group to reevaluate the traditional twice-yearly format of New York Fashion Week, which takes place in February and September, showcasing designer collections six months in advance for industry insiders.

"Designers, retailers and editors have been questioning the relevance of Fashion Week in its current format for some time," said Steven Kolb, president and CEO of the CFDA, in a statement. "Out of this industry need came our decision to hire Boston Consulting Group to create an in-depth analysis and road map for the future of Fashion Week."

In addition to questioning Fashion Week's relevance, a few designers have already changed their approach to showing collections. Along with Thakoon's acquisition by Hong Kong's Bright Fame Fashion last week, the brand will reportedly overhaul its business model and focus more on presenting pieces ready for purchase in real time, a similar decision made by Bill Blass during its relaunch this fall. LVMH Prize winner Thomas Tait also announced that he will opt out of London Fashion Week and instead schedule private appointments with press and buyers.

"We have designers, retailers and everybody complaining about the shows. Something's not right anymore because of social media, people are confused," said Diane von Furstenberg, chairman of the CFDA, to WWD. This has also prompted the consideration to create shows that are geared more towards consumers, which is something that we've seen at Givenchy's open to the public spring 2016 show in New York City, Rag & Bone's ticket giveaway via Uber last season and Rebecca Minkoff's upcoming plans to present her spring 2016 collection (as opposed to fall 2016) in February, when the clothing will already be in stores. Half of Minkoff's attendees will be trade — who saw this same collection presented back in September — while the remainder will be the brand's "everyday" customers.

The extensive study conducted by the CFDA and BCG will take place at the start of next year for approximately six weeks. WWD reports that this will not impact the February dates of the upcoming New York Fashion Week.