In the month of May alone, three separate groups called for a change in how fashion presents and consumes new collections. First, it was Dries van Noten, along with other designers and executives, in an open letter; then, it was a second collective of creatives, facilitated by Business of Fashion; finally, it was the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and the British Fashion Council (BFC) — the two biggest trade groups in the U.S. and UK, respectively. They all expressed similar concerns: that it was too much output, too much waste, too much time. That everything should be streamlined, taking into account what consumers actually want and what they're actually spending on.
Despite these rallying cries, there hasn't been an industry-wide revision to the traditional fashion calendar, with its biannual Fashion Weeks across four cities and its pre-season collections (sometimes accompanied by far-flung presentations). Instead, individual designers and brands have taken matters into their own hands, taking themselves off of the schedule and debuting their new lines at their own pace.
Below, we're highlighting some of the major names that have announced deviations from the fashion calendar. We will continue to update this story as more brands introduce alternative show schedules.
Since 2018, Alexander Wang has been presenting two season-less collections a year, in June and December, aligned with pre-collections on the traditional fashion calendar. He didn't show at the end of last year, however, instead opting to plan a bigger event in 2020 to celebrate his brand's 15th anniversary, Vogue reported.
In May, Giorgio Armani announced a new cadence and concept for the company's various fashion brands. Armani Privé, its highest-end collection, would skip the summer haute couture shows in Paris (which, it was later announced, would be going all-digital amid Covid-19 concerns), and instead would showcase its latest couture designs, which will be season-less, the following January at Palazzo Orsini, the company's headquarters in Italy. Then, the Giorgio Armani line and Emporio Armani's men's and women's collections will debut in September in Milan.
In May, Alessandro Michele posted a message titled "Appunti dal silenzio/Notes from the silence" to his personal Instagram profile. In it, he explained that Gucci would "abandon the worn-out ritual of seasonalities and shows," and would instead "regain a new cadence" to present its latest designs. There would also be no more pre-collections — instead, only two lines a year, that wouldn't be labeled "cruise, pre-fall, spring-summer [or] fall-winter," as he believed those to be "stale and underfed words." What would've been the brand's final Cruise show, for 2021, was originally supposed to take place in San Francisco on May 18, but it was canceled prior to Michele's announcement, due to the coronavirus pandemic; the brand will stage a Resort 2021 digital fashion show in July instead.
Following unsold inventory and Fall 2020 production delays due to Covid-19, Michael Kors announced he would be stepping back from New York Fashion Week for the Spring 2021 season and would instead present that Michael Kors Collection line some time between mid-October and mid-November. "I have for a long time thought that the fashion calendar needs to change. It's exciting for me to see the open dialogue within the fashion community about the calendar — from Giorgio Armani to Dries Van Noten to Gucci to YSL to major retailers around the globe — about ways in which we can slow down the process and improve the way we work," he said in a statement. "We've all had time to reflect and analyze things, and I think many agree that it's time for a new approach for a new era."
Mugler will be moving its presentations of new collections so that they align with the season the clothes correspond to — i.e., it'll follow a "see now, buy now" format starting with Spring 2021, WWD reported. Though this shift has reportedly been in the works for months, it was officially announced on July 1. Mugler will still participate in Paris Fashion Week in September, but will only showcase a portion of what will be the spring line. It will then be made available on its e-commerce in October, ahead of a full collection reveal in February 2021.
In June, New Guards Group, a backer of Virgil Abloh's Off-White, adopted a new calendar for its product deliveries where it would reduce the gap between when a collection is unveiled and when it is available for purchase, WWD reported. As a result, Off-White wouldn't be on the Spring 2021 calendar at Paris Fashion Week; rather, the line will debut in January and be on shelves the following month.
Ralph Lauren was noticeably absent from the New York Fashion Week schedule for Fall 2020. Once February rolled around, the brand announced it would be saving its autumnal debut for April, breaking with the see-now-buy-now structure it had been following for several seasons, WWD reported. However, as the coronavirus continued to spread and lockdowns were in place globally, the event was canceled.
Kering-owned Saint Laurent said in April that it would no longer follow the traditional fashion calendar. It would instead "take ownership of its calendar and launch its collections following a plan conceived with an up-to-date perspective, driven by creativity," it wrote on Instagram. "Now more than ever, the brand will lead its own rhythm, legitimating the value of time and connecting with people globally by getting closer to them in their own space and lives."