As we have all had to slow down and clear our schedules these last few months, the fashion industry has been looking inward at its own calendar. So what exactly is happening with NYFW?
The pandemic hit the fashion industry particularly hard. The fashion industry was also one of the first industries to feel the disruptive effects of Covid-19. In February 2020, Milan Fashion Week fell around the time of the first known cases of the virus in Europe. Understandably, many brands reacted to the risk with canceled shows. It appears that the September shows in New York will also look a lot different.
In strict compliance with NYS Health and Safety rules, NYFW has recently been given the welcome go ahead with restrictions. NYFW is planned for a shorter schedule on September 13-17. With just under 2 weeks to go, everyone is wondering how exactly the famed event will work, and what restrictions will be placed upon the shows.
As Cuomo described NYC as “the fashion capital of the world,” he set guidelines for an NYFW like no other. Guidelines require that outdoor shows will be capped at 50 persons, and indoor shows will be 50% capacity without spectators. Attendees will also need to have their temperature checked and masks are required at all times.
Like most things in our life at the moment, NYFW is going virtual. The full schedule of shows has not been released yet but there have been a few exciting announcements. On a positive note, it looks like more events will be accessible to the public. Full shows will likely be posted online either live or immediately after the show. For instance, CHULO Underwear’s show will be televised live on Zoom. CHULO Underwear will be raising money for Trinity Place Shelter. In addition, ASC Fashion Week NYFW is organizing an International Virtual Week with international designers and models in NYC.
Fashion Industry Reaction
Unfortunately, some luxury brands have announced that they will not be showing a collection this September. Gucci and Saint Laurent, two of the biggest names in luxury fashion, have recently announced changes to their schedule to reflect a slower pace of collections. Following this, New York native Michael Kors has also opted out of NYFW in September.
Likewise, LA-based Japanese fashion designer Shun Oyama will not be showing a collection at NYFW this year. I caught up with the designer of the Shun Oyama Tokyo fashion brand. Despite the success of his last show in September 2019, he is focusing on custom clothes for artists now. Shun Oyama discussed his concerns with me over a virtual fashion show. Oyama stated: “As a designer, I want to do a fashion show in person because I want people to feel our creativity and atmosphere directly.”
As someone who has worked a handful of fashion shows for NYFW, I share the same concerns about how collections will translate through technology. However, with some of the most creative minds in the world working in fashion, I am optimistic that designers will deliver an NYFW like no other.
Madeline Meyer, a model for Shun Oyama Tokyo’s last Spring/Summer collection, will not be modeling this year as she is at home in California. Madeline told me: “I think everything will have to adapt and change with the addition of the virus into our new norm.” Madeline contemplated her vision of an NYFW in a world still dealing with the pandemic: “I’m thinking it will be similar to how sporting events have gone about COVID, probably empty seats and taped shows for people to watch remotely on their phones and TVs.”
Unleashing Creativity for NYFW
I am confident that a new format will allow designers to release their creativity onto our screens. There is an opportunity for designers to think outside the box of the standard shows. Menswear label Pyer Moss is hosting a drive-in event during NYFW, proving that the imaginative nature of NYFW will prevail.
Last year, before anyone had even uttered the phrase ‘social-distancing,” the Jacquemus fashion house celebrated its 10-year anniversary with a monumental show. The fashion show took place in the lavender fields in Provence, France. Thousands of social media shares brought the impressive images of Jacquemus’ show much publicity.
While there are no extravagant lavender fields in NYC, we do have the most notorious skyline in the world as a backdrop. NYC also has undisputed natural beauty for a stage in Central Park. Even an indoor show in the iconic Spring Studios has enough fashion tradition to provide an atmosphere. With a setting so iconic, inspiring shows are likely to get the exposure from a few million shares on social media that goes far beyond the 50-person capacity.