By Spring 2016, Fashion Week as We Know It May Change

And the consumers could be sitting front row


This week, the Council of Fashion Designers of America announced a plan to change what CFDA president and CEO Steven Kolb calls, “a broken system,” referring to the old way of doing things — showing Spring and Winter collections twice a year, approximately six months ahead of their in-store delivery dates (not to mention Pre-Fall and Resort).

WWD reported that the CFDA has retained Boston Consulting Group to conduct a seven-week-long study to “define the future of fashion shows.” Though the solution is unclear, the proposed future could mean a fashion week where runways are immediately shoppable, where those doing the purchasing — the consumers — are present at the shows. Buyers and editors would view the collections privately and in a smaller format ahead of time.

So what does this mean? We don’t know. But below, Leandra (blue) and Amelia (gray) text about it.

Feature Image via The Coveteur


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  • Leandra Medine

    Two more thoughts I left out: the smaller format for editors and buyers will attract attention and in time, that system will be blown out of proportion and possibly regarded as broken as well — there will become a hierarchical disparity between the “fashion-fashion week” and the “people-fashion week.” Also, what does this mean for street style?

    • Francisca Nguyen

      I am getting a salary of more than 3500 dollars each week , that is awesome. Over a year ago I was in a horrible condition , jobless and Bank account with only few bucks . Thank one of my friends showed me a way where I was able to gather my self and making average of 85 d/h. So it can change your life as it has changed mine.

    • Also, what is going to happen with the individuals who fall in the grey areas (i.e: celebs)? Are they being completely cut out of the mix? If they are going to try and avoid falling into the same broken cycle as they are now, you’d think they’d keep the fashion-fashion week for primarily buyers and editors. That said, I simply cannot see the likes of the Kardashian’s mingling with the general public at the peoples-fashion week. You can definitely see how there would form a hierarchical disparity between the two or even within the public one – it’ll become like a concert where each row costs a different amount of money.

      I haven’t fully developed my opinion on this and won’t until they’ve come to some formalised plan (admittedly, my initial knee-jerk reaction was to be hugely cynical). That said, I think this could potentially open a whole new opportunity for street style. There are a fair few individuals who are interested in fashion, have incredible style, but aren’t in the fashion industry. I think this would be the perfect opportunity to highlight just that and I can definitely see photographers and bloggers having an absolute field day with this.

    • S. Edwards

      As someone who experiences the shows mostly via (previously of silence of that site) I don’t really see this changing much for me. Granted, I’m a consumer of the ideas more so than the actual product because of the way my bank account is set up, me and a $3,000 dress just don’t go together. So I feel like a show for consumers probably might go back to the days where ateliers did shows for the women they crafted clothes for. There might be some lottery access for people who have to decide between rent and a pair of Celine slides but, I don’t see it changing the level of exclusivity that gets some people interested in the shows in first place. I think inevitably one show or the other will become the circus the shows are today and then there will have to be another shift.

      I think street style might change. The best street style photos are mostly of bloggers and editors so unless the pre-shows are closed to photographers, the photos will still be focused on style but probably become less street.

      • Annie Cornelius

        I am getting a salary of more than 3800 dollars each week , that is awesome. Over a year ago I was in a horrible condition , jobless and Bank account with only few bucks . Thank one of my friends showed me a way where I was able to gather my self and making average of 85 d/h. So it can change your life as it has changed mine.

  • Bee

    Looking at it from a business perspective, I think it has s been well established that the key to luxury is maintaining a certain sense of exclusivity. Up until recently, Fashion Week has served as an aspirational marketing tool to build buzz under the principle of “FOMO”. I’ve heard many people say that they don’t care as much about fashion week anymore because AMEX cardholders and other industry “outsiders” can gain access to the shows relatively easily which takes away the exclusivity factor. With all of this being said, I don’t think creating an even less exclusive Fashion Week is the solution here. But, like you said, perhaps DVF has a better understanding of this.


  • liv

    I don’t want to be included. I want to wonder. IS NOTHING SACRED ANYMORE?

    This is DIY, “How-to” magic. When a magician shows you his tricks, you don’t believe in it anymore.

    This is the equivalent of a participation award. Fashion isn’t meant to be “buy now, wear now”. There’s something to waiting. Where’s the romance? Where will the butterflies live?


    • Natty


  • As you’ve said before: Privacy is the new luxury, right? I think the format will change in multiple directions as it is already, and allow designers to play with different formats. I hope technology and production methods will enable designers to create by demand, not the creativity of a piece, but the actual production of pieces. That will shorten the cycle time that was once necessary and probably the reason for fashion shows to begin with. It also enables ‘fashion’ to become more sustainable like cutting down on waste material and overproduction. And that will probably even change the way designers work towards 1-2-3 full collections a year, vs. monthly released pieces – with the ability to quickly iterate and release new better products.. Until the day when we download a piece and have a drone deliver the right materials in order to 3D print our clothing for tomorrow.. The shows are just one part of fashion changing from what we used to know.

  • Bella Charlwood

    I feel like in time the private little buyers pre show viewings will become like the actual shows currently. Highly exclusive and the envy of the general public.

  • Elizabeth Thompson

    You’re forgetting one very important aspect that will always be a factor in exclusivity, which is price. Whether or not the show is done for the consumer, not all will be able to purchase straight from the runway. And what implications will this new format have on price and production? What impact will it have on low-cost mass reproductions? Will this be a change only felt by the insiders while the lives of the outsiders remain ultimately unphased? Most likely. The fashion industry is so ingrained with insiders, not a single one could break down the iron facade separating them from the masses if they tried. It’s a tired, broken system because it still operates in a world of class separation. That is the key to its exclusivity, and romance but also its downfall.

  • Amelia Jane Cullen

    In a follow on from the previous comment from Elizabeth, I as an advocate for change in the Fast Fashion economy of which we now live, am very fearful of how this would translate down the fashion ladder putting more pressure on the low cost mass production lines to recreate the styles faster then ever before. When the people who produce the majority of the worlds clothes already work in such horrific environments, I shudder to think the lengths the big brands would go to to keep on trend. And on a separate note, as someone who has fallen in love with the romanticism of fashion I feel sad that it would take away some of the excitement that comes from the wait for a piece you have seen on the runway months previously.

    • Jayne

      This is exactly how I feel! I don’t feel such change would serve as a positive to the fashion industry, I feel it would take away the excitement that surrounds it all which I love – also, like what was touched in this piece, not everyone wants to be apart of it either, so why the change? It’s hard to fully understand it but like you said, the effects such a change could have on the fast fashion market is a worrying prospect. Something does need to change, but I don’t know whether this is it – then again, what do I know.

    • Oh gosh, that’s a great point about the poor labor conditions probably only getting worse with a change like this.

    • Oh wow, you’re so right. Have you watched the fast fashion documentary “The True Cost”? If you haven’t yet, it seems like something you’d be interested in!

      • Amelia Jane Cullen

        Yes I have seen it such a powerful film, I’m currently writing an essay on it!

  • BK

    I’m still interested in your blurry runway instagrams

    • Leandra Medine

      Thanks BK.

      • BK


  • Seems like a messy situation. It will be very, very interesting to see how this all plays out over time…I do think right now, the whole world has a lot of access to shows. HD images are available within 20-30 minutes and many shows even live stream. I think cutting that all out for “private” buyer shows and a select group of consumers would create a lot of challenges for buyers’ inventory and the way the fashion world works from an editorial standpoint. I’m usually all for change, but I guess the more I think about it–the system isn’t really all the broken. Fashion Week has become much more transparent in the last 5 years..seems like this would be taking steps backward….

  • Whitney V

    I’m divided as well, really enjoyed reading your conversation girls! On the one hand, the designer is probably tired of high-street and cheaper brands copying their designs and sales will probably increase if you can buy the clothes straight away (and unfortunately, let’s be real, for many it really is all about sales = money), so there you go. But on the other hand, the illusion of magical, so stylish (street-style, Leandra!), dreamy Fashion Week will die. It sounds like killing art, but we’ll see. I’m far from an expert.


  • Natty

    I don’t know why, but the notion of “inclusion of the consumer” brings to mind the shitshow that was Balmain x H&M. The show/campaign was a complete circus. It created so much hype that by the time the black market hawkers and professional buyers representing celebs/the well-connected picked over the collection, there was nothing left for the real consumers. Unless, of course, real consumers don’t mind paying 6x the retail price on eBay.

    Let the shows remain “exclusive” to fashion insiders and celebs. That exclusivity is part of the mystique and makes high fashion feel extra special.

  • Megan

    I cannot see this happening anytime soon.
    Unless the consumer shows are pushed back 6 months, how can any of the design teams possibly catch up to create the buyer presentations, and then the consumer catwalks?
    The collections will still be edited by the buyers, so it won’t really be any different than what you would potentially have available in stores. There will always be production minimums for garments, unless they are one of a kind, and in that case, who can afford it but the celebrities and elite who originally attended the shows?

    It just gives the consumer the feeling that they are special, but still, it’ll still be a select group of consumers.

    This is a mess. DVF i love you but unless there is actually NO one in attendance at the shows, or theres some type of strange fashion lottery, we will never all have an equal chance to attend.
    But if we do, I think my grand mom would love to attend the Chanel show. Please and thank you!

  • In Australia we have Fashion Week (industry only) and then a few months later when those collections are landing in department stores, we have Fashion Festival (consumer event). Consumers pay for pretty reasonably priced tickets so it’s not really an invite thing, meaning anyone can go.

  • Michelle Yasmin Hutchinson

    Creating fashion shows that are immediately shoppable is just
    adding to the problem in fashion as it stands today: over consumption, over
    producing, and everything moving at
    crazy speed for no real reason. Runway designers already have tremendous pressure to produce multiple shows per year at a crazy rate. Now they will need to produce collections that will need to be consumed immediately. It’s not about exclusivity…it’s about creating this unquenchable appetite for consumption leaving us empty and hungry. What about producing small collections, or producing collections not meant to be bought or worn but as a form of expression on beauty, art, politics, culture. If shows are created as just
    another shopping outlet then we kill creativity, ideas, beauty, process, time. Disruptive innovation is cool, but this idea is more disruptive than innovative…probably.

  • Katelyn C Woodburn

    Thinking of the boring manufacturing and logistics side of it – won’t it be an added expense and headache for designers to keep a bunch of stock at the ready for right after their consumer show? Or are they planning on just sending consumers to the stores who have ordered from them? What if the consumer wants something that turns out to not be available because a certain store hasn’t ordered it? Good luck, BCG!
    Also, I could imagine that editors/bloggers/journalists get very inspired by the theatrical shows… They get a glimpse into the mind of the designer and his/her vision. They, in turn, communicate those ideas to the masses. I’d rather have the person holding the pen than the one holding the credit card seeing the amazing show.
    The problem, like DVF said, is that it’s too confusing, and puts stress on the designers. I could imagine the small, intimate showroom affairs would get fancier and more elaborate by the season, and then the designers would be having to deal with not one but two shows per collection.
    I really applaud DVF though (when do we ever NOT applaud her), first for taking a stand and second for enlisting outside help to fix it. I’m beyond excited to see the results.

  • Carlotta

    My first reaction would be the exact same of Amelia’s: how sad. First of all, this idea of the shoppable runways completely jeopardises the role of buyers, but ultimately makes things harder for designers too: boutiques and stores are in constant need of showcasing new stock, so if the customers were to see and buy everything that’s to been seen and bought at fashion week, what would the buyer come up with in order to still be able to drag the clients’ attention toward the stores? How many more limited edition/capsule collections would the designer have to create in order to keep providing more new options to the saturated eyes of their customers?
    This from a practical point of view. In regards with the press, it’s just heart breaking that the ones who once were the filter between the craziest most diverse industry of all and everyone else are no longer relevant. Anyone can share a photo, snapchat an outfit and tell their opinion on certain style choices rather than others. As a result of that, pretty much everyone feels entitled of their opinion and the only reason why magazines still preserve their allure is because they are now more of an item themselves. Gucci bag or Prada bag? Vogue or ELLE?
    Finally, admitting the customers to the shows – wait, do they expect the clients to go through the stressful and extremely tiring experience of attending fashion week?! – and knowing that only few of them would actually be invited to them makes fashion much more elitist than mysterious and creates an insane paradox: everyone can do fashion but at the same time, very few people can participate to it, and the reason has no longer to do with that being a job for them.

  • Mary Davis

    Fashion show provides a way to understand upcoming trends in fashion industry and helps to figure out best outfit too!!


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