Fashion Week’s Over in New York. Now What?

Leandra Medine | February 19, 2016

And what was with the mood this season?

Mood at Fashion Week Outside of the Shows Man Repeller 1

Fashion Week in New York ended last night like it always does on the third Thursday of February following a Marc Jacobs show, but this season more than ever feels like the end. It seems too reductive to blame the weather for the overarching sense of fatigue that filled the air last week. Certainly we’ve seen worse. And for a season that showed a fair amount of really strong clothes — I’m thinking particularly of Prabal Gurung’s stunning collection of dresses and snap pants and knits, Rodarte’s reimagined sinister fairy bride and Michael Kors’ minor burst of delight — what gives?

It’s almost like for the past however many years, editors and buyers and venerated show-goers have sacrificed their long holiday weekends, smack in the middle of the coldest month in New York, to attend fashion shows because, repeat after me: I love my job, I love my job, I love my job.

There is a certain adrenaline rush that invariably comes with lights dimming, chatter quieting and the loud music that indicates a starting show — the ostensible world of opportunity that will definitively change you at its best, provide a talking point at its worst.

It’s not difficult to grow addicted to it. But in the past three years — six seasons not counting resort and pre-fall — what we’ve found more than anything is that this adrenaline too often fails to provide the anterior change. Instead you’re left with a talking point that starts to mute itself out. So you wonder: why am I here? And if that question mark gets loud enough, no matter how good the clothes are, they’re tainted by your lack of purpose.

Of course, we’ve also become a dedicated legion of skeptics. Are the clothes here to share an idea, or to “break the Internet?”

Cue the eye roll.

The people seem tired! And frustrated, too. Bridget Foley of WWD tore Diane von Furstenberg apart following her multi-level presentation. Cathy Horyn accused Fashion Week of making many of us its bitch. I’m afraid to read any of Vanessa Friedman’s reviews; I feel like she may as well ram an axe through my screen. But can we afford to lose purpose? What do we have without it?

Possibly just blame. And there is plenty of that to go around. When in doubt, it’s the Internet’s fault, right? Here we’ve seen fashion turned up to a ridiculously high volume. It became a megaphone, and whether you wanted to hear it or not, it caught you. You had no choice but to consume it. So you did. Then the beast continued to grow. It hit an apex. Then it exploded like a balloon over-injected with helium. But for the people who work in fashion, an assemblage of creatives who live and die by the matriculation of trends, this picking up the pieces of latex has offered a confusing inflection point where we have no choice but to stand.

Because here’s the thing: maybe we’re reading fashion week as a trend. And maybe we feel like the “trend” of fashion week has ended. Are we deluding ourselves into believing that fashion week is “out of style”? It sounds ridiculous but if you think about it, the establishment by definition revolves itself around trends — identifying new ones, discarding old ones, turning the interim ones on their heads and so forth. So we’ve muddled the pieces with The Thing that houses them but! — and there’s a big but — as is always the case with any trend, it’s cyclical.

That ravenous craving always comes back. And when it comes back quickly is often when you know it’s not exactly a trend.

So what to do until then? Stick it out, pursue the silver lining, intellectualize the shit out of the clothes and remember what brought us here in the first place. It was never even actually about the clothes. It’s the characters we project! The decisions we make! The lives we get to orchestrate and ultimately, live in the clothes.

So live we shall.

Photographs by Phil Oh for and Krista Anna Lewis for Man Repeller; collage by Emily Zirimis


  • Babs

    Is it as easy as, “the internet killed fashion week”? It seems we’ve written about and photographed the event to such an exhausting degree that it’s lost what made it cool: exclusivity and a safe space for true invention. I imagine it’s hard to be original and maintain a true aesthetic with millions of eyes on you.

    • Olivia AP

      I think you are right. At the end brands want to sell, and I think that lately a lot of designers are using models like Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid to maybe attract a broader audience and have people talking about their brands on social media. So you feel this fatigue because everywhere you look they are talking about these shows who had these models and I think it’s not even about the clothes anymore. I feel like I just lost all interest 🙁

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  • Kerry Robinson

    I love this post because it gave me something to look forward to in fashion. At times I think is this really for me?… I’m so tired of all these people who never actually get what art, fashion and lifestyle mean actually mean. You put it best, “It’s the characters we project! The decisions we make! The lives we get to orchestrate and ultimately, live in the clothes.”

  • Jayne

    I’ve only ever observed fashion week and its fashion shows through a laptop screen and while I truly love that such is so accessible to those who do not attend but with instagram and the over use of social media in recent years the whole showcase has started to feel a little proliferated.

  • I’ve never had this idea until now that I’ve read this post. Is really fashion week out of style ? I can’t answer this maybe because there are many pros and cons about fashion weeks . It probably appears always the same routine every year during February and September : posts about the fashion shows,street style looks . Today everyone can be part of the show thanks to the social media and all the blogs . I don’t know if this is a pro or a con . Surely the excitement of being front row and to see the new collections are part of the amazing dance that is the fashion week.


    Glam Observer

  • What if, instead of adhering to the giant consumer beast that is the retail buying season, designers approached collections like musicians do albums? Some would be planned and eagerly awaited. Some would be surprise releases a la Beyonce. It’s so interesting to think about the presentation of collections and their subsequent availability to the market without the construction of fashion week in the middle of that process. Thanks for bringing it up!

    xx Hannah //

  • Szia Ujj

    The concept of “being there” truthfully seems quite busy and terribly PR focused. Sitting behind a screen flicking through images and reviews IS easier however could this be the future of Fashion? In the circulatory system that is Instagram, we have witnessed fashion and style snuck around by our telephonic devices. Is it too extreme to suggest a virtual screen experience of a clothing line in which teleported your being into believing you are in fact front row at a show?

    I believe Fashion Week is cyclical as each designer is either playing catch up between seasons, repeating or revealing their prescriptions of taste. As for trends, well every week is our personal Fashion Week and perhaps Fashion Week is just a reminder of that.

  • hedonisima

    The only Fashion Week that I still believe in is the one in Milan. No New York and Paris spectacles and airports in the middle of the city. No paparazzi waiting for nothing more than the new hair color of some big fat consumer. It’s just about people that are holding it on their shoulders , moving from location to location in groups in unpredictable clothes ,cause in Milan is fine to dress up yourself everyday like its fashion week – you just have a bigger crowd thats Crossing on red light with You. And it’s about us , having amazing chance to live in this city , thinking how , if we follow their steps We’ll see something magical and it’s about being so happy about it even if You are not the part of “spectacle” , just the part of this amazing energy. And not any model with leg too fat for the runway and wallet too fat for success on her own or celebrity with no interests in fashion can ruin that .

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  • Mary
  • This argument is getting boring… I mean, how many people is dreaming about living a fashion week? I know that it must be exhausting, but if you have a fashion dreamed carreer you just have to suffer for two months a year 🙂 I know that fashion weeks will change, cause this is imposible to hold, but they wont die!

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  • ultracookie

    There is one thing that I have been trying to remind myself of lately…FASHION is the raw material, but STYLE is how you live with it. Let’s just look at Fashion Week like a walk through Home Depot; a banal, but necessary gathering of tools and ideas. The more exciting developments come from the houses we choose to build.

  • I do agree with you regarding the spectacle that fashion week has become. Its a bit much! To the extent that one cannot escape it. On the other hand, I am also happy that people such as you and other fashion critics are also speaking out openly if they dislike a presentation. This is also a change, since in the last few years one felt that in this age of paid publicity, all one could hear during fashion week was giddy excitement – specifically when it came to large advertisers, instead of a well-informed opinion. So, atleast maybe, like you asked earlier – the fashion critics still live on and there is hope.

  • Luli Peralta

    And perhaps the fact that for so many people in the industry fashion week “was never even actually about the clothes”, is the reason why the design of the clothes themselves is not enough to keep them entertained. And how ironic is it that the very people who get to live the lives that these beautifully designed collections inspire, may not be the same as those who admire fashion for the aspect of design.