On Wednesday, IMG announced the creation of the IMG Fashion Alliance, a group of "leading American designers who will help define the future of New York Fashion Week with IMG and serve as a new cornerstone of NYFW: The Shows for seasons to come," per a press release.
Leslie Russo, president of IMG's fashion events and properties, revealed the news during a virtual press conference on Wednesday morning, noting how the group was "formed with a simple, like-minded objective: to create a bedrock of designers committed to New York Fashion Week's revitalization and celebrate the resilience of New York's fashion and retail industry as we emerge post-pandemic."
Even before the pandemic wreaked havoc on in-person fashion events and American retail, New York Fashion Week had been the subject of much debate, with some designers choosing to show their collections abroad in recent seasons or off calendar. The goal of the IMG Fashion Alliance is to create a united front in support of keeping American designers local and committed to the New York Fashion Week venue, as well as provide assistance and resources to said designers.
"In our countless conversations with designers over the past year, a shared vision and a consensus emerged, which is that rebuilding begins with a collective commitment to New York Fashion Week," Russo said. "As New York Fashion Week is the number-one fashion revenue-generating event in New York, there's no better week of the year to get the fashion economy flourishing again... It's time to rebuild, and the assembly of this group of incredible American designers led by IMG demonstrates a commitment to the revitalization of New York, the fashion capital of the U.S. and home to the largest footprint of the fashion industry in the country."
At launch, the IMG Fashion Alliance has rallied 11 American designers as founding partners: Altuzarra, Brandon Maxwell, Jason Wu, LaQuan Smith, Markarian, Monse, Prabal Gurung, Proenza Schouler, Rodarte, Sergio Hudson and Telfar. Each have committed to showing their collections at New York Fashion Week for the next three seasons, through 2022. In turn, IMG will devote resources — including "investment, content, production and talent" — to them in order to help make that happen.
"We believe there is strength in numbers, and we share with these designers their commitment to New York Fashion Week as a cornerstone of rebuilding," said Russo. "We hope others follow in our shared path to really fortifying a robust fashion economy post-pandemic."
During the press conference, IMG also announced that Afterpay will serve as presenting sponsor for New York Fashion Week beginning in September 2021. Per a press release: "The multi-year partnership with IMG, the owner and producer of New York Fashion Week: The Shows, the event's central footprint, will champion American designers, support the U.S. retail industry and give consumers more access to the fashion brands that they love." Afterpay has also partnered with LaQuan Smith to launch a "see now, buy now" show for the designer during New York Fashion Week.