CFDA shake up NYFW

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In late December, changes were made and New York Fashion Week would never be the same: The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) announced that it would rethink the format of fashion week.  A Chairman of CFDA, Diane von Furstenberg, told Women’s Wear Daily (WWD) that the potential format change is a response to consumers and designers both.  With the rise of social media and consumers viewing the show over live streams, the idea behind the shows previewing the next season is so…last season.

In years past, New York Fashion Week runway shows in September would preview what to wear for the spring/summer seasons, and the collections shown in February previewed the looks for the upcoming fall/winter seasons.  As times have changed from only the elite in the industry attending and viewing the shows, to having everyday fashionista’s (consumers) mixed in with the elite, consumers are immediately seeing what’s on the runway and wanting to wear it.  But, the consumers don’t understand that the collections are presented well in advance.

Therefore, designers are adjusting what they are presenting on the runway because fashion week is now geared towards consumers.  According to Fashion Times, fashion designer Rebecca Minkoff announced her plans to present her namesake brand’s spring/summer 2016 collection on the runway, for the second consecutive New York Fashion Week event.

“Technology has utterly changed everything in our industry. That customer continues to follow Instagram and Twitter and watches the live-stream of fashion shows. When they are seeing clothes, they are less aware of seasons. What they are seeing, they want,” says Ken Downing, Senior Vice President of Neiman Marcus.

The more “higher up’s”, such as Ken Downing, that approve of CFDA’s format change, the more likely all designers will wholeheartedly participate.  In full support of the shift, Downing backs Minkoff’s decision.

While Minkoff is clearly on board for the change, not all designers are as eager.  A drastic change like this will take time and probably many seasons of fashion shows to get everyone on board.  CFDA is seeking designers that are willing to host small showroom presentations for the retailers, elite and press, displaying designs for six months in advance.  In addition, the designer’s runway shows will send models out wearing ‘in-season merchandise — and getting all the positive benefits from the social media phenomenon,’ according to WWD.

Just as the rest of the world is adjusting as technology does, New York Fashion Week should be no exception.  Social media is playing an increasingly important role in the fashion industry.  NYFW’s front row is filled with more famous social media bloggers than ever before.  Whether their followers are viewing the shows over Instagram or Snapchat, the consumers want to wear what they are viewing.

If designers want to continue influencing consumers, they must learn to use media and technology to its full potential and that change can be a good thing.  The everyday men and women watching over media deserve a “reward” for being loyal consumers.  The bi-annual fashion shows would be a start for designers showing their appreciation.