Many Are Questioning If NYFW Is “Over”

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For decades, New York has been the center of the American fashion industry. NYFW’s original iteration was held in 1943 and then known as “Fashion Press Week;” the CDFA organized the presentation of collections under an official schedule for the first time in 1993. Disrupting the longstanding hegemony of New York, there are an unprecedented number of designers holding events in Los Angeles this season. The burgeoning trend has led many to question whether or not NYFW has run its course. Are designers choosing to head west for the reason of novelty, or is L.A. steadily becoming America’s next fashion capital?

A few designers who were once NYFW staples have opted out of presenting in New York; Tom Ford, Rodarte, and Rachel Comey to name a few. Designers who choose to show in California mostly put on unorthodox events, guaranteeing maximum press attention. Tommy Hilfiger staged his part fashion presentation-part carnival event, „Tommy Pier” at South Street Seaport in Lower Manhattan last season; he’ll be showing his next see now, buy now collection in Venice Beach in just two days. Vetements is throwing a secret event called “Dry Cleaning” at an undisclosed location in L.A. on the first day of NYFW. Conversely though, West Coast designers like Jeremy Scott are continuing to present traditional runway shows in New York.

The greatest obstacle to the City of Angels overtaking the Big Apple is geographic distance. Fashion month is biannual, and consists of four consecutive weeks of shows in New York, London, Milan, and Paris. Adding a fifth week to the Fashion Month would be gratuitous, and editors flying 3,500 miles further west to attend shows seems unlikely. There is also a much larger pool of talent based in New York. The Joint Economic Committee’s New Economy of Fashion report found that as of February 2016, there were 7,030 employed designers in New York, as opposed to 4,130 in Los Angeles. Presenting collections out west allows designers to communicate directly to fans instead of critics, but for now, the industry is technically still rooted in New York.

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