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How Skylight Became IMG's New Fashion Week Partner

It all started with a photo in "The New York Times."
Ralph Lauren's fall 2015 runway show at Skylight Clarkson Sq. Photo: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Ralph Lauren's fall 2015 runway show at Skylight Clarkson Sq. Photo: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

One of fashion week's most interesting and unusual jobs belongs to Jennifer Blumin, founder and CEO of Skylight Group. As demand for unique, customizable show spaces in New York has increased, many of the city's most relevant design labels — Rag & Bone, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Proenza Schouler and Ralph Lauren, to name a few — have come to Blumin in recent years for help finding the perfect venue, be it an historic post office or a former bank. It's a bit ironic (or fitting?), then, that the person best known for finding alternatives to the official New York Fashion Week venue — formerly Lincoln Center — has been chosen to replace it. IMG announced, Monday, that it had selected two of Skylight Group's venues as the new homes of New York Fashion Week: Skylight Moynihan Station and Skylight Clarkson Sq.

So how did Blumin nab IMG as a client? "There was a piece on the company that ran during fashion week in September in the Styles section of the [New YorkTimes and we got a lot of traction from that, one of which was, I get this email from our office manager and he’s like, '[Co-CEO of IMG parent company William Morris Endeavor] Ari Emanuel called for you. Here’s his number,'" Blumin told Fashionista, somewhat incredulously, over the phone Monday. "Obviously we thought it would be [about fashion week], but not totally clear and so we get on this call and he’s like, 'You look great in your picture; as long as the picture’s great, that’s all that matters. You look fantastic, let’s do a deal,' and left it to us to figure out what that looked like and how to do it and we did, we figured it out." The power of a good photo in the New York Times  who knew?

Blumin doesn't know what her venues beat out in the end, but she has an idea of why they make sense for fashion week's changing landscape. "I do know there was a very real feeling that the realities of fashion week today were not being taken into consideration with the tents. It was time to iterate what fashion means in the present day, in the age of Instagram and street style and all of those things," she said. She feels that, for one, the Skylight venues are more tied to New York, as a New York Fashion Week venue should be. "Our venues create dialogues, they have a past... It ties you to the common history we have as New Yorkers. It's a constantly evolving city, so that a post office can become a runway," said Blumin. "A tent can be anywhere and fleeting, and that’s not the right message to send."

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Blumin's fashion week won't be drastically different this September. Skylight is also hosting shows for a number of designers at her other venues. Ralph Lauren, a longtime client, will show again at Clarkson Square, but as a client of Skylight, not IMG. She says that Moynihan Station and Clarkson Square, which IMG has access to for an undisclosed number of seasons, will hold "a lot less" shows than Lincoln Center did.

Things that are still being sorted: sponsorship, production plans and NYFW's eventual move to the Culture Shed at the Hudson Yards, which Blumin did say is "too far off" for any definitive plans to have been made at this point. Will Blumin be involved in those plans? "I would like to be, but that’s for them to call me."