The Credit Crunch has started to affect NY Fashion Week. I would think that more than a few designers will pull out of showing at the Bryant Park Tents or scale down their plans. So far:
- Betsey Johnson (who has shown her last 5 collections there) will put on a more intimate show.
- Vera Wang (who has shown there for the last 4 years) will show at her new downtown store instead.
- Carmen Marc Valvo (who has shown there for the last 10 years!) will either do a show at a showroom or a cocktail reception.
Valvo’s comments are especially interesting:
"If I had shown in the tents, it would have been ‘over the top, no worries, life is wonderful, isn’t this great?’ and we all know it’s not…Retailers are going to be hit so hard this Christmas season, to flaunt the excessive expense of a show at a time when everybody is suffering, and it’s terrible with all the layoffs, I didn’t feel it is the right message."
It might not be a smart buy at the point either: a show can cost anywhere from $100K to $750K, and with retailers hit so hard by the slump in sales less buyers are coming to the shows, and those that are have much tighter budgets. Magazines are having to slash budgets as well, so fewer editors are going as well.
It’s not like there will be any empty slots at NY Fashion Week though: other designers who had opted out are deciding to snap up the spots that are opening up…
The huge fashion show might go the way of the 90s supermodel – they’ll only continue if they make financial sense. Many people are expecting this recession to be temporary, but it might turn out to be just wishful thinking. What’s happening is a restructuring of all industries, and the fashion industry won’t be spared.
On the other hand, maybe the only reason it costs so much to put on a show is that people are charging what the market will bear – prices will go down if enough high-profile designers opt out.
…maybe they should just start planning to show at London Fashion Week! It’s cheaper!