New York Fashion Week has been the subject of speculation in recent years, as top designers and magazine editors question its waning relevance in a market that continues to expand digitally and geographically.
The 2020 iteration has been marked by more than a few absences. Ralph Lauren ($RL) isn’t showing for the first time in over 50 years. Tommy Hilfiger ($PVH) is bringing his Autumn/Winter collection to London instead. Tom Ford ($PRIVATE:TOMFORD) held this season’s show in Los Angeles last week, coinciding with the first day of NYFW. Jeremy Scott ($PRIVATE:JEREMYSCOTT) canceled his show two weeks before Fashion Week and is moving it to Paris in July.
And while NYFW is ripe for Instagram content, it doesn’t seem to affect the brands’ follower count much at all. Calvin Klein ($PVH) and Tommy Hilfiger, both of whom didn’t show, each gained about 100,000 followers since the beginning of the month. Ralph Lauren’s following remained at 11.8 million.
Eschewing your typical runway show, smaller New York designers like Susan Alexandra and Collina Strada put on branded concerts with performers adorned in their latest collections. Nike ($NKE) showcased various new collaborations and 2020 Olympic uniforms on all-star athletes and models at its NYFW “experience.” Nike has gained a million followers since the beginning of the month, not that they needed any help.
Now, companies need more than a runway to stand out at NYFW— something that will raise brand awareness, boost sales, and outweigh the cost of putting on such an event. Attendees want a spectacle, and preferably one they can share on Instagram.
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