Typically taking place over a period of seven to eight days, New York Fashion Week could be shortened to just five days according to a new plan proposed by the Council of Fashion Designers of America, a change which the CFDA’s new chairman, Tom Ford, believes will help keep the event relevant.
Currently running longer than fashion week’s in Paris, Milan and London, Ford hopes the plan to streamline New York’s event will be approved in time for the spring/summer 2020 season, which would see NYFW run from Friday, 6th September through to Wednesday, 11th September. “There’s a choice,” Ford told WWD. “All of New York Fashion Week moving toward irrelevance or changing the schedule, trying to reinvigorate it and trying to be as accommodating as possible.”
According to Ford, who takes over the CFDA chair from Diane von Furstenberg in June, shortening fashion week would involve focusing on the major designers and scheduling other shows around them, making it easier for international press and retailers to attend. Indeed, international attendance at NYFW has plummeted, with industry professionals bemoaning the length and complicated logistics of the event. “We’ve lost the international press,” said the CFDA’s chief executive officer Steven Kolb, echoing Ford’s concerns. “They just aren’t coming or don’t come as frequently.”
It is hoped that an increased international attendance would also lure back those designers who have decamped to Paris in recent years, something which has also served to diminished New York’s fashion status. However, a shortened fashion week will also mean that fewer labels will make it onto the official schedule, and the CFDA will be prioritising talent, creativity and international interest when organizing future calendars, with help from both American and international editors and buyers.
"What American fashion needs in order to be more relevant in the world is to think of itself as not just American but as international," said Ford, whose foremost priority as chairman will be to help local brands step out onto the global stage, something which is in line with the CFDA’s stated mission to “strengthen the impact of American fashion in the global economy.”