The Council of Fashion Designers of America announced today that it will shorten New York Fashion Week by one day, truncating the annual fashion event to seven days instead of eight.
The CFDA said in a statement the move was an effort to streamline the experience, following feedback from international buyers and press that the annual eight-day event was becoming too lengthy and expensive. What’s more, New York is the first in the lineup of the four major global fashion weeks, followed by London, Milan and Paris, and fashion month as a whole has a reputation for being a logistical nightmare for industry members traveling between cities. The updated schedule will go into effect this coming September.
The CFDA has received pressure to shorten New York Fashion Week for several years, beginning in 2010 when it was embroiled in controversy with the Italian fashion industry. At the time Milan threatened to show at the same time as New York and London, and argued that Italy’s shorter schedule hampered production demands and discouraged international guests from attending. The outcry was also a response to Vogue editor Anna Wintour’s absence from Milan’s fall 2010 shows.
“It’s a pretty tight schedule that has the fashion world — buyers, editors, influencers, celebrities, fashion icons — traveling from city to city without any rest,” said Rony Zeidan, the founder and CEO of luxury agency RO NY. “By the end of the shows, it all becomes a blur, with the increasing amount of brands presenting their collections.”
Dropping the last Thursday means NYFW will end on September 13, giving attendees an extra day of travel to the U.K. before London Fashion Week begins on September 15. But it also spurs shakeup for the New York schedule, which is already harried. Marc Jacobs will continue to conclude the event, as he has in recent years, but on Wednesday. Another change: Calvin Klein and Tom Ford will open the week come September.
The lost day also comes on the heels of U.S. designers beginning to drop out of NYFW in favor of other cities that better fit their consumer demographics. For example, Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez 0f Proenza Schouler opted to take their latest collection to Paris, and Tommy Hilfiger and Rebecca Minkoff both showed at Los Angeles Fashion Week in February.
Ashley Paintsil, editorial director at FashInvest, said as brands continue to identify new ways to show collections, the utility of fashion week may begin to wane. This is particularly true for smaller, emerging brands. According to Paintsil, though they’d no doubt benefit from the exposure of a fashion week, brands including Reformation and Misha Nonoo have found alternative ways to show lines to critical acclaim.
Lizzy Bowring, head of catwalks at WGSN, said while a shortened NYFW is “a welcome respite,” she would like to see more rigid criteria for designers showing at the event.
“Cutting by a day is a mere drop in the ocean,” Bowring said. “Perhaps something that would be more advantageous from the CFDA would be a condensed version of the entire schedule. I doubt that cutting one day out of an already hectic schedule will have a domino effect on other cities.”