CFDA Study: Change Is Coming To Fashion Week

The CFDA released the long-awaited Boston Consulting Group study of New York Fashion Week this morning. The findings confirmed what many have been saying a long time: Fashion has to find flexibility in its current six-month lead-time model.

As Fashion Week becomes less of a trade-only event, the challenges facing the industry are well documented. Designers and retailers have to find a way to tackle shoppers’ buy-now-wear-now approach and keep the consumer interested in trends as far as six months between show date and product delivery. Another challenge? Styles hit stores out of season, resulting in major markdowns by the time shoppers are looking for items. There’s also the challenge with fast fashion retailers producing faster and at lower prices.

While the study doesn’t overhaul of the current fashion week model, it does offer a few options after spending time interviewing fashion editors, executives, designers and retailers.

“This was never about revolution,” CFDA president and CEO Steven Kolb told Footwear News. “It was about evolution.”

Kolb said that it’s more likely that the fashion weeks down the road are more likely to be a blend of current-season and long-lead presentations. Some designers, like Misha Nonoo, Tom Ford, Burberry and Rebecca Minkoff, have abandoned the traditional show structure for other in-season options.

“We’re putting the emphasis on what the individual brands want to do,” said Kolb. “For fashion week sure it will be a mix of market shows as we know them and some consumer relevant shows happening at the same time.”

Whether designers present in an intimate one-on-one presentation or host a party to introduce consumers to the collection, the CFDA said one thing was for certain: it was planning to let designers and brands find the right fit for themselves, and would support them in the exploration of format.

The CFDA is in process creating a guidebook on presenting in-season shows successfully, and have started working groups to further the conversation. The organization also said that it hoping to find a new outlet to support brands that want to change show format, but may not have the marketing prowess or dollars behind them.

One thing is for sure though, as fashion week continues it will not look like the version we’ve known.

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