Fashion weeks are no longer playing an important role in the fashion industry.
Fashion week is dying. It is no longer important for fashion buyers. It is no longer appealing to designers. And it also does not attract viewers. So, do we still need fashion week? And it exists for whom, for whom?
History of fashion week, an overview
Before mentioning the history of fashion week, we must talk about why it is celebrated in the spring, summer and autumn seasons. The person who initiated this concept was the sun king: King Louis XIV of France. He was the first to distinguish the two fashion seasons – Spring Summer and Autumn Winter. Two-season fabrics are distinctly separated by color, texture, thickness and material. We have been following this arrangement from the 1600s until now – more than 400 years!
Since the 1700s, France has had fashion shows to sell the latest designs. Costumes, fabrics are worn on mannequins, one by one, and only for traders. In the 1800s, Charles Frederick Worth changed his presentation. He did the style for mannequin a full outfit, with accessories included. Paul Poiret was the first to host a post-show reception.
The concept of contemporary fashion week first appeared in 1943, in the United States. It was organized with the intention of allowing fashion collectors to have another place to trade, when World War II prevented purchases in France. Fashion weeks followed: Milan in 1958, Paris 1973 and London 1984.
New York Fashion Week in 1943
The brief flourishing period of contemporary fashion week
When we think of fashion week, we envision a bustling, fashionable dress. These images are actually built since 1993 completely thanks to New York fashion week.
Before 1993, New York fashion week was almost spontaneous. Each brand organizes the show itself, invites guests, advertises itself. They simply held at the same time. Until 1993, CFDA chief executive Fern Mallis wanted to organize a more united week.
From this point on, New York Fashion Week began to lease a specific venue: Bryant Park in New York. A white canvas tent is erected. Runway is designed. Sound, light, changing room, security work … all are referred to a common organizational package. At this time, the designer just “hired” the catwalk. They can freely focus on their collections. Of course, this cost is not cheap.
In 2007, to show the collection at New York Fashion Week, a brand would pay around $ 50,000. However, the accompanying business results turn fashion week into a mandatory fashion event to participate.
Until 2010, New York fashion week has expanded too big. The event is beyond the capabilities and capacity of Bryant Park. Each year an estimated 300 fashion shows participate. As a result, the event moved to a bigger venue: Lincoln Square (also the area where the Met Gala was held). However, the event did not achieve previous success at Bryant Park. In just 5 short years, New York Fashion Week was forced to leave Lincoln Square. Now, it seems to be returning to history, with shows held wildly throughout New York.
The “white tent” of New York fashion week at Bryant Park
Why is fashion week hard to survive? Because it has no purpose to live.
Have you ever wondered: why are fashion weeks introducing designs early to 6 months before the fashion season? It is purely for business reasons.
Fashion week which appears for clear purposes: Trading. In the Rococo period, salon shows existed to stimulate traders to buy French cloth. Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, designers organized shows to introduce new designs to their fans.
In the 20th century, fashion week was the venue to introduce a new collection dedicated to professionals. The main target is the purchasing group of chain stores, fashion boutiques. Along with reporters, fashion editor. Within 6 months, the purchasing group will prepare a business plan for the store. And fashion magazines will prepare content for the issue, cover photography, etc.
However, through the 21st century, fashion weeks had a big problem: Fast Fashion and See now Buy now. Changes in the 21st century make organizing fashion week superfluous.
Who killed fashion week?
In short: Internet.
More details: New business models are established after the advent of the Internet. For example, fashion blogs and Fast Fashion.
With the advent of the Internet, streaming video services and fashion blogs, fashion models leaked out as soon as they were introduced. When bloggers were invited to the show, they immediately posted photos on the Internet. Before these designs appeared in magazines and shops, their images appeared widely throughout the Internet.
Fast fashion takes this opportunity to follow the big brands. It is capable of producing a collection within a few weeks. Fast fashion brands immediately launched the idea of ”copying” the designs that appeared at fashion week. When the original products were on sale, suddenly they became old compared to fast fashion models.
Not to mention, the bloggers and fashionista themselves also become an object to compete with brands at fashion week. In the past, we were interested in the latest collections. Today, we are more interested in the street style of the attendees.
Street style bloggers and fashionistas are sometimes more welcoming than collections.
Fashion week is no longer effective for high-end brands.
Fast fashion or high-street fashion almost never organizes shows. They save a lot of money, but can still access customers via the Internet.
The disclosure of designs six months early makes them vulnerable to theft. If designing limited-edition collections, there is no need to promote them at fashion week.
Trying to follow the fashion week’s schedule also causes many designers to be under pressure. Two Spring-Summer seasons, one Resort / Cruise season, one Pre-Fall season, Menswear and Haute Couture (if any). From 4 to 6 large collections annually. Because of that, Raf Simons had to leave Dior’s house.
Not to mention, the constant purchase of new clothes is no longer attractive. Now, young people prioritize paying for experiences. Dinner with a star or a caliber businessman. Traveling to a hot location on Instagram. Do yoga, meditation or massage to relax. There is too much activity besides shopping.
What is the future of fashion week?
Fashion week has been changing the business model to survive. For example, New York Fashion Week now allows ticket sales so that casual fashion aficionados can go to the show. London Fashion Week organizes an edition called the London Fashion Week Festival, so that young people can go shopping and listen to talks. Milan Fashion Week also organized another auction with Anna Dello Russo.
What are the effects of these changes? We are not sure. And if there is no fashion week? Certainly, there will be other fashion events only. We will just remember them a little bit.