November 11, 2015

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With all the celebrities in attendance and the non-fashion brands attached to the shows, NYFW has grown to be quite a spectacle over these last few years. What was once an opportunity for unknown names to debut their creations is now turning “its gaze outward towards the consumer, [transforming] the shows into one of the biggest marketing campaigns of the year according to a Her Campus contributing writer.

NYFW is a wonderful occasion for many fashion enthusiasts, whether that meant sitting front row, styling the models, showcasing designs, or walking down the runway, NYSFW has grown exponentially into an amazing global event. As fashion week veteran Laurel Pantin tells the followers of fashion aggregator Lyst, having the big, blonde curly hair that she does, she secretly wished to be plucked from backstage to strut down the runway in leopard panties and a blue satin coat, just like Carrie Bradshaw in Sex in the City. The glamour of the new and unexpected from the industry’s undiscovered talent was what these events are all about. But season after season, New York’s hottest trade show is seemingly looking more like a marketing tool than an expository platform for burgeoning designers, losing touch of the show’s original intent.

Before there was any notion of NYFW, shows were held throughout the year from the early 1900s onwards, until New York Dress Institute Press Director Eleanor Lambert organized them into a single timeframe in 1943, calling it “Press Week.” But the various venues proved difficult for editors and designers in terms of accessibility and the safety of the building, thus in 1993, the Council of Fashion Designers in America (CFDA) unified the events under select locations. Back then, it was known as “7th on Sixth,” and as soon as the event series was sold to the sports and media management company IMG, people began calling the centralised calendar as “New York Fashion Week.”

The success of these shows are no longer solely measured by the innovations of designers as brand endorsements, celebrities appeal and media attention, is taking away the substance of these trade shows. Although most shows are localised at Lincoln Center, numerous designers have sought different venues because they found the Vegas-like limelight to be distracting. Has NYFW lost its relevance and integrity?

One thing is for sure: IMG definitely needs to go back to the shows’ roots to open doors for designers and make it easy for the public to see their collections.