September is here along
with the highly anticipated fashion week of the year – but keep an open mind as
the rules have changed dramatically to suit the needs of the global
In the last six months,
the pandemic has forced many designers and brands to reconsider their past
traditions and merge the calamities of life with their usual designs and
Despite spending months
inside, we’ve not been able to combat the fatal Coronavirus completely, as a
result of which the New York Fashion Week this year has had to make many
changes. Hence, this year, instead of the customary seating charts and attendee
queues, we’ll be witnessing a futuristic merger of green screens and virtual
Leslie Russo is the
biggest producer of the event. Her team has been observing sports broadcasts
and other major productions so as to gather insight into the techniques and
tools utilized that perhaps might churn out to be resourceful. She was notably
excited to experiment and move the needle.
Russo said that we are faced with an actual infliction point. We see individuals doubling down on the way. The business needs to be done in a new way and that’s the only way to gain through it.
Russo started planning
and strategizing for the first leg of the fashion month in June. Apparently
there’s a 40-page COVID-19 handbook that has to be strictly followed. Brands
have been forewarned about the changing consumerism in light of the pandemic as
well as the season.
Hence, the event that
previously showcased 150 shows and presentations on an average will be scaling
back to only 8 to 10 live events. In addition to this, there will be 15
presentations arranged exclusively for the press – guests won’t be allowed.
Monse is planning to
display its unsold Autumn 2020 collection on live models and directly sell it
to the attendees present at the rooftop. This was expected – many household
names have made exceptions to either dropout or shift their usual show spots
to the upcoming shows elsewhere. Valentino has shifted its mandatory Paris show
to Milan. Marc Jacobs and Michael Kors have followed suit.
An important note has
to be made here: IMG is only responsible for the production of these events and
the Fashion Calendar is dependent on the Council of Fashion Designers of
America. Both organizations have made it clear that they will make leaps and
bounds to reduce stress and meet the needs of the honorable brands.
However, IMG business
model is shrinking with each passing day because the supporting businesses (models,
stylists, and photographers, etc.) have also excused themselves this season.
Previously, IMG’s fashion weeks included staple events like Berlin Fashion Week
and Miami Swim. However, recent years have shown their abrupt departures,
reducing the company to New York and Sydney.
This year, all eyes
will be on New York Fashion Week for obvious reasons. It’s been over eight
months and the industry has been hit with the major financial crisis. COVID-19 limited the
fashion industry to home – now with the supply chains disrupted and revenues
relinquished, New York Fashion Week seems to be the last expedient.
The following month may
serve as the trump card for the fashion industry, but it’s essential to not tie
all our hopes with the upcoming event. Let’s keep in mind that the attendance
in the forthcoming fashion event will mostly be local and sparse. In addition,
digital experiments will unfold – perhaps challenging the ethos of the show.
Due to travel restrictions,
limited Americans will participate. However, this means opportunity and a mild
celebration of all things local.
Multitudes of brands are working to survive
and this event simply broadens their scope. IMG has urged these brands to go
beyond the traditional city-based schedules – a strategy that works as a double-edged
This also means that
the focus will be directed towards the digital platforms rather than the cities
and geographical locations.
Russo noted that indeed phone is now the only global stage.
It won’t be wrong to
admit that this year’s New York Fashion Week will define the new age solution
to showing and selling brand collections. Until a week ago, all major brands
were articulating as to how their collections will be showcased. This is
exactly why IMG was hesitant to confirm its fashion calendar. In fact, Russo
claimed that the line-up was “changing
After a barrage of
obstacles and indecisive attitude, IMG has arranged a show that will hint us
towards the future. Many fashion gods may have backed out last minute but the
company managed to assemble a respectable list of flashy names. Jason Wu is all
set to open the event on an outdoor rooftop whereas Tom Ford is all ready to
close the ceremony.
You may be aware that
the situation in New York is getting worse with each passing day – hence the
restriction on all public events. Therefore, Jason Wu’s show will only have 50
seats to fill. Needless to say, many guests could be rubbed wrongly due to the
lack of invitation.
So far the press and
photographers are being labeled as “crew”
whereas influencers and celebrities are counted as the honorary “guests”. IMG hasn’t confirmed whether
the influencer community will be invited or not.
Many well-funded brands
may not make any appearance this year. For example, Rihanna’s label Fenty has
Source: USA Today
Russo admits that when
she watched the US Democratic National Convention in August she was compelled to
acknowledge the significance a virtual but live audience offers. She was further enticed by the ideas that are
formidable on streaming platforms.
She said that traditionally live streams have only been one particular angle down the runway. Nobody likes watching the basketball game from just one angle. We cannot take away the energy of live as people like consuming fashion just like sports, they follow their favorite models and season to season.
Hence, it can be said
that all forces of the fashion industry are adopting new-age measures to cope
with the ongoing pandemic while acknowledging the
expansion that the digital platforms allow.