Monday marked the official start of fashion month, an industry event that continues to evolve.
Traditionally, editors and buyers begin the the month in New York before continuing on to an endless barrage of consecutive events in London, Paris and Milan, also known as the “Big Four.” Though the fashion calendar continues to fluctuate — as designers increasingly ditch the catwalk altogether in favor of innovative new ways to show collections — fashion month remains a critically important part of the fashion industry. In recent years, it’s become a platform to make significant political and social statements that help translate to sales, and has helped emerging brands gain valuable visibility.
Held in February and September, fashion month not only takes months of preparation for brands, but it also requires a significant amount of money and manpower. We took a close look at the month, examining everything from the average number of minutes a show is delayed (a notorious component of the festivities) to the average investment for a brand.
Here’s the resulting breakdown of fashion month, by the numbers.
Duration of a typical show: 7 to 20 minutes
Typical delay time: 30 minutes
Average number of looks per show: 30 to 40, depending on timing and scale
Total model castings: 7,000+
Total number of days: 30. Fashion month kicks off with New York Fashion Week: Men’s on February 5 and concludes with Paris Fashion Week on March 7.
Total number of shows by city
New York: 280+
Number of years since the first fashion show: 115. Though cities like Paris and London held private salon shows beginning in the 1800s, the U.S. department store Ehrich Brothers is credited with holding the first runway show in 1903.
Number of years since the creation of New York Fashion Week: 75. It wasn’t until 40 years after the Ehrich Brothers show that the late fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert created Fashion Press Week in New York, making it the first city to organize shows by season. (London, Paris and Milan Fashion Week were all officially recognized in subsequent years.)
Total number of NYFW attendees: More than 230,000. A majority of the show-goers are members of the international fashion press, and The New York Times estimates that 54 percent are editors and reporters. Buyers comprise the next highest percentage of attendees at 30 percent, while friends of the brand make up 13 percent and celebrities account for the remaining 3 percent. However, with a rising number of events open to the public, these percentages may shift this year.
Total Instagram posts tagged #NYFW: 4.5 million
Total Instagram uploads during NYFW in February 2017: 153,000
Percentage of NYFW designers that live-stream shows: 36 percent
Economic impact in New York: $887 million. According to the New York City Economic Development Corporation, the shows create an important boom in the hospitality, restaurant, beauty and wellness industries in the city.
Minimum investment for a brand to participate in fashion week: $10,000, according to Mark Beckham, the business director of fashion weeks for the Council of Fashion Designers of America. However, some estimates are as high as nearly $500,000, after factoring in talent, hair, makeup, lighting and publicity.
Average number of photos taken by a fashion photographer per show: 2,000. (More, if you include street-style photos before and after the show.)