For a typical fashion designer, New York Fashion Week prep begins months in advance, and one of the first priorities is securing a spot on the official Fashion Calendar. Now a digital platform operated by the CFDA, which works to prevent scheduling conflicts between two shows that might draw the same editors and buyers, the Fashion Calendar lists events up to six months ahead of time. Enter Kanye West, who decided to stage an over-the-top spectacle for his latest Yeezy collection and the debut of his album "Waves" (and not tell anyone about it until a week or two prior) at 4 p.m. on the first day of New York Fashion Week. This was not great news for two labels slotted to show at the same time.
Former J.Crew designer and current Banana Republic creative advisor Marissa Webb, whose show for her eponymous line was also scheduled for 4 p.m. on the 11th; and Adam Selman, a favorite of Rihanna's whose show was scheduled for 5 p.m., both rescheduled their shows at the end of last week, after news broke of the Yeezy season 3 event.
While the element of surprise might add to the buzz and excitement surrounding West's show, it puts other designers in a tough spot. Even an established, respected brand can't expect to compete. Selman, whose shows draw a similar crowd to West's, confirmed his switch to the 6:30 p.m. slot last Thursday morning, though a rep would not confirm the reason for the scheduling change. Webb's PR team sent out an email blast on Friday evening informing recipients of an "updated show time" to 3 p.m., writing: "Due to unforeseen circumstances, we are 'swishing' the time of the show to 3 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 11. Sorry for making 'waves.'" Get it?
"This was definitely a new one for us. But at the end of the day, the reason we hold a show is so that the editors, retailers, and friends of the brand, such as bloggers and customers who support us, can come and see the collection," Webb wrote in an email to Fashionista. "Moving our show up an hour was the easiest way to make that possible, and my team and I are fortunate to have the partners that we do who helped make this change pretty seamless. I have to say, we're pretty good at rolling with the waves."
This isn't the first time West has disrupted a designer's Fashion Week plans by announcing his own show at the last minute. Last season, emerging designer Anne Bowen planned to debut her new streetwear line at what turned out to be the exact same time as West's show, and she was not afraid to speak out about the strain West's last-minute announcement put on her business, telling WWD, "We have been prepping for a year for this at considerable financial, labor and commitment-cost to our company. Our show date has been scheduled for months and has been on the Fashion Calendar for weeks... Kanye knows he is a media sensation and it is just not ethical to do this." She was forced to show on a different date, "which [was] a logistical nightmare."
Details of West's show still remain scarce, but on Monday, West tweeted a link to a sale site where fans can purchase tickets to see the event streamed live in theaters from Madison Square Garden.