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The CFDA Debuts a Remodeled Fashion Calendar

The New York fashion industry's governing body is promising a much more organized Fashion Week this February.
CFDA CEO Steven Kolb. Photo: Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Tory Burch

CFDA CEO Steven Kolb. Photo: Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Tory Burch

In July, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) -- essentially the governing body of New York’s fashion industry -- formally acquired the Fashion Calendar from Ruth Finley, who founded it over 65 years ago and continued to run it up until last season.

While Finley’s efforts were beyond helpful and impressive, the Calendar itself, and the way fashion events were organized, was a bit outdated. Enter the CFDA, which has spent the past six months working to modernize the entire process, just in time for New York Fashion Week.

At a demonstration of the new Calendar on Wednesday, CFDA CEO Steven Kolb joked that you might be able to find copies of the old Fashion Calendar — a booklet with a pink cover — on Ebay because they’re officially a thing of the past. While you can print out schedules if you want to, the Calendar itself has gone online-only.

To build this new digital resource, the CFDA partnered with New York-based firm Sideways, which also helped create the New York Fashion Week app it launched a year ago. (The app was a great idea in theory, but left quite a bit to be desired.) Tim Murphy from Sideways described that app as version 0.5 and this one as version 1.0. From a technology standpoint, this platform is much better, though this is designed for your desktop instead of your smartphone. The CFDA and Sideways decided not to make a mobile app (yet) and instead focus on a desktop experience that allows for some mobile integration, which we’ll explain below. Read on for what you need to know about everything from gaining access to the Calendar, how it works and plans for future revisions.

You have to subscribe.

One can only access the Calendar by paying. Currently, there are three levels of access, but the CFDA may add more in the future based on feedback from subscribers -- of which there are currently 650, which includes brands, PR companies, buyers and, of course, editors. A one-year subscription, which also includes four free listings and the opportunity to purchase additional listings at a reduced rate is $550; a subscription for one market week (such as NYFW) is $150; listing a single event is $325.

Current subscribers should be notified shortly of the switch, and will be able to log in to the new system with the same username and password.

Multiple users can log into one account.

If you're a big PR company or running an editorial team, you don't need to buy a subscription for each member.

Photo: Courtesy CFDA

Photo: Courtesy CFDA

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It’s a calendar.

The Fashion Calendar looks like any online calendar you might be familiar with, with every confirmed fashion event already there. It’s available up to six months in advance and there are options to view by month, week or day. You can also search for designers and sort by market (i.e. women’s or accessories), season or event type (i.e. presentation or party). You can also opt to see only CFDA members’ shows, or “highlights,” a bunch of shows deemed more important by a panel of anonymous industry insiders. You can hover over an event to see details like location and click on it to see more, like RSVP information or a map.

You can also save events that you want to keep track of, and view your saved events in a list or a filtered calendar.

You can export events to your personal calendar.

You can easily export a calendar event to your own Google calendar or use Google Maps to plot out how to get where you need to go.

Photo: Courtesy CFDA

Photo: Courtesy CFDA

It’s not integrated with Fashion GPS.

We were kind of bummed to learn that the Calendar would not have any integration with Fashion GPS to keep track of things like invitations, RSVP confirmations and seating assignments, but this was not an oversight on the part of the CFDA. Kolb said he met with Fashion GPS and came to the conclusion that they are different tools. Fashion GPS is for invitations, while the Fashion Calendar is an organizational structure.

It prevents scheduling conflicts.

If you're listing an event, there’s an automatic tool that notifies you when there’s an event conflict, but on a more human level, each listing submitted has to be approved by the CFDA, who can and will guide a designer to a different slot if, say, a show that is likely to have the same editors in attendance is taking place close to or at the same time in a different part of town. Kolb explained that he and his team have really learned to exercise "the power of no," and that as demanding as designers and PR companies can be about getting exactly what they want, they've been respectful of the CFDA's authority.

There will be more features come September, including but not limited to…

Optimized mapping with subway routes, Uber integration, original editorial content and custom partnership activations. Additionally, perhaps in an effort to curb Fashion Week congestion, designers will have to fill out an application to be considered for a slot. However, that only applies to those who haven't shown on the Calendar before. "We can't go backwards and tell people they can't show anymore," explained Kolb. That would be pretty rude.