Fashion Week: A Private or Public Affair?

Fashion Week / Catwalk

Fashion is a business…, and like any business today it is constantly looking for new ways to engage the consumer. And while we can sit in front of our computer screens and catch catwalks shows in real time, perhaps the next step is the introduction of ticketed fashion week events? After all, nothing compares to experiencing a show live. I can vouch for that!

Julie Hurst

A week is a long time in politics, so the saying goes, but the same could certainly be said of the fashion industry last week. While I was away, Style.com was taken offline to be replaced by Vogue Runway, Net-A-Porter founder Natalie Massenet announced her resignation from the group on the eve of its merger with Italian e-commerce giant Yoox, and Givenchy became the first fashion brand to open its fashion week presentation to the public.  Phew!

Givenchy’s spring 2016 collection will be shown today in New York to coincide with the opening of the brand’s new flagship store in the city – the house traditionally features on the Paris schedule.  Were you one of the lucky ones to secure a ticket for the show?

When I wrote my article for the Huffington Post last year, I had no idea that twelve months later public presentations would become a reality, and while for fashion fans this is seen as a positive move in an age of increasing fashion democracy, what impact will it have on the nature of the shows and how business is conducted in the future?   Are we, as The New York Times’ Vanessa Friedman cautioned at “..the top of a potential slippery slope of fashion week transformation”?

Will the catwalk become increasingly commercial to appeal to the masses?  Maybe, but how many of us can actually afford runway ‘ready to wear’, however commercial?  As Julie Zerbo of The Fashion Law tweeted recently…

Givenchy / Public Fashion Show

Or perhaps creativity will win out?  If we, the fashion loving public, are sitting ring side for pure spectacle, then what better way to entertain than by putting on a show of fantastical fashion designs?

However, the overriding question has to be where does this leave the actual business of fashion?  An increasing number of designers already eschew the traditional show in favour of an intimate presentation to a select group of press and buyers, so perhaps there will be separate private and public events to satisfy both camps?  If so, what pressure will this put on designers in terms of both time and money, not to mention their wellbeing!

There are many more questions to be answered, and it will be interesting to see how this plays out.  What do you think?  Should fashion week be a private or public affair?

Watch the Givenchy show live here at 23.30 BST

Read Vanessa Friedman’s article in full here

Image Credit: Pinterest

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