Lines pointed skywards, a surefire sign that the menswear market was finally growing steadily. In 2015, the first iteration of New York Fashion Week: Men’s “NYFW:M”, took place, organized the Council of Fashion Designers of America, “CDFA”, on the 13th of July. Banking on the long-term success of women’s fashion week as an established fashion capital, NYFW:M aims to be just that. But before its establishment as a dedicated platform for American menswear designers, concerns have been raised, as many of these brands have become long time fixtures on Europe’s fashion week calendars.
Now into its fourth installment, the projected growth of the menswear market doesn’t seem to have soothed the growing doubts about NYFW:M. Adding salt to the already growing wound, Business of Fashion’s Kate Abnett points out another concerning trend by questioning the impact of mixed-gender shows on men’s fashion weeks. (1). Whilst NYFW:M has always been a lot more ‘New York’ and a lot less ‘Milan’, it seems that these disquiet murmurings have caused a shake-up at NYFW:M, whether it will be well received, only time will tell.
Reported to be the last year that NYFW will be showing at Tribeca’s Skylight Clarkson Square, home for many previous men’s fashion shows, “the official venue of New York Fashion Week is New York City” Steven Kolb, chief executive officer of the CDFA announced. In simpler terms, men’s shows will be scattered through different venues around the city. The move comes in response to the seasonal changes remarks Mark Beckham, vice president of marketing for CDFA, “the entire fashion week landscape is going through tremendous evolution and we want to be sensitive to the needs of designers and be cost-effective. So if a designer is creating an original film, perhaps they can look at a screening room. If they’re planning a casual presentation, maybe an amazing penthouse would be better” (2).
“the entire fashion week landscape is going through tremendous evolution and we want to be sensitive to the needs of designers and be cost-effective. So if a designer is creating an original film, perhaps they can look at a screening room. If they’re planning a casual presentation, maybe an amazing penthouse would be better”.
As the success of any given fashion week runs on its ability to pull in industry names, namely press, editors, buyers and merchandisers, it’s difficult to predict the outcome of next year’s industry staff. Will the decentralization of NYFW:M be a deterrent for fashion’s movers and shakers? Although the CDFA has been instrumental in supporting new talent and emerging menswear designers, it’s been an uphill battle in securing the enough big names to match that of its European complement.
Yet fashion shows have become increasingly competitive in nature. Designers are now placing emphasis on the new show model – creating unique show settings to immerse its audience in their brand’s new story. Location scouting and design set have become exponentially important. The move to decentralize comes at an apt response to new fashion norms – the blurring lines between menswear and womenswear and the need to create a wow-factor in the increasingly competitive news cycle. Yet its still unclear whether this change at NYFW:M will help combat the rise of mixed-gender shows and whether this will push brands to innovate their offerings to truly stand on par with Men’s Fashion Weeks in London, Paris and Milan.
(1) Abnett, K. ‘Are Mixed Gender Shows The End of Men’s Fashion Weeks?’. Business of Fashion
(2) Sajonas, F. 2017. ‘Major Changes to Happen for Men’s New York Fashion Week in 2018’. Hypebeast