Is New York Old News?
New York, New York! My goodness how I missed this city. Upon returning home this past weekend, reencountering that unique buzz was immensely precious. Yet, walking down Fifth Avenue whilst perusing Vogue, I couldn’t help wondering whether this famous energy might be fizzling out.
This past season alone, Rodarte, Proenza Schouler, Thom Browne and Altuzarra all shifted their shows to Paris, while Tommy Hilfiger and Tamara Mellon both upped sticks to LA. This trend doesn’t look set to slow anytime soon. It seems more and more designers are growing tired of the hectic beauty that is the Big Apple.
But what is causing this change? New York is undeniably a cosmopolitan hub, and has a lengthy history with the fashion industry. Yet, as Alexandre de Betak, founder of Bureau Betak - which counts brands like Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, and Rodarte among its American clients - puts it, “New York Fashion Week [is] tend[ing] to be more realistic, more commercial.” She herself suggested Rodarte shift to Paris last year because, as she framed it, “they needed something new, and maybe the audience needed to see them in a new context.” She feels that “New York, sometimes, isn’t the best place for growing the more creative of the brands, the less commercial ones.” The city is famously tough, and it seems the attitude and expense are starting to take a toll on the local fashion scene.
All this is not to say that NYFW is gone for good. This past season marked the debut of a number of promising up and coming designers as well as the return of the usual luxury suspects. New York has an aura of life that is hard to beat, and it seems clear that the city will always be a top destination for all things fashion.
But the city better up its game if it hopes to stay top dog. As we enter a new age of style where designers are able to make use of the internet and social media more than ever before, the notion of fashion shows is certainly in need of some reinvention. Staying ahead of the curve is more important than ever, and New York's trend towards the "realistic" and "commercial" certainly poses a problem.
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