The fashion calendar in New York City continues to evolve and 2018 will be a year of significant change for the Council of Fashion Designers of America.
In releasing the preliminary lineup for the fifth edition of its men’s wear shows scheduled for July 10-13, the CFDA said that after this year, it will be leaving its primary venue, Skylight Clarkson Sq in TriBeCa, a move that will force it to “re-examine” its approach to fashion shows.
“The official venue of New York Fashion Week is New York City,” said Steven Kolb, chief executive officer of the CFDA. So for season six of NYFW: Men’s in January, there will no longer be a home base and the shows will be “decentralized,” he said.
In the past, the shows have called Bryant Park and Lincoln Center home and Skylight has been the primary space since 2015.
Mark Beckham, vice president of marketing, said the CFDA is searching out a variety of venues around the city — penthouses, hotels, galleries, screening rooms, exhibition spaces — and will work to match the designer with the appropriate space. It is also working with the Skylight Group to identify some appropriate options, he said, ones that will “highlight New York City and how designers want to show.”
But one thing is for certain: CFDA’s support of young designers will continue regardless of venue.
Beckham said that the designers who had shown at Skylight were “heavily subsidized” and thanks to the support of the CFDA were able to stage their shows for under $10,000. “That’s pretty affordable,” he said. “And that’s not going to go away. Our support to the designers is just evolving.”
The men’s market, he said, received more financial help than the women’s because so many of the American men’s designers have small businesses. “Men’s is still an emerging market and they don’t have the resources that the established women’s brands do,” he said. “So we work to provide a more level playing field.”
He acknowledged that “the entire fashion week landscape is going through tremendous evolution and we want to be sensitive to the needs of the designers and be cost-effective. So if a designer is creating an original film, perhaps they can look at a screening room. If they’re planning a casual presentation, maybe an amazing penthouse would be better.”
So while there are undoubtedly substantial changes in the offing for next year, the CFDA is anticipating a strong NYFW: Men’s next month. “Raf [Simons] is back, Boss is back and we’re growing on top of the strong season we had last year,” Kolb said. The preliminary calendar will be posted on the group’s web site on Monday, Beckham added.
In perusing an advance copy of the calendar provided to WWD, it was clear that many of the market’s biggest and buzziest names — Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Michael Kors, Joseph Abboud, Rag & Bone, Tim Coppens, John Elliott and Off-White — are not on the official calendar at this point. Many of those brands are either showing in Europe, such as Hilfiger’s planned show in London, or on the women’s calendar, but there were still a few bold-faced labels.
Todd Snyder will open the week, holding a show at Cadillac House on the evening of Monday, July 10. Tuesday the 11th will see the return of Perry Ellis in the morning, followed by a full day of shows that will include Nick Graham, Robert Geller, Boss, Carlos Campos and Patrik Ervell. Raf Simons will return and close the day.
On Wednesday, brands such as Engineered for Motion, Kenneth Ning, Deveaux, Parke & Ronen, Landlord, and Thorsun will show. Ovadia & Sons and Palmiers du Mal will close the day. On the final day on Thursday, Represent, Bode, Linder, Rochambeau and Los Angeles-based newcomer C2H4 will be featured. Beckham said John Varvatos and Theory will also join the calendar but their show times and venues have not yet been finalized.
“We’re standing at 45 [shows and presentations] including New York Men’s Day,” Beckham said, “and we will still have a few additions.” There will also be an accessories showcase at Skylight Clarkson Sq, where 18 shows will be held this season. He explained that Skylight last season had hosted 28 shows, but the space is being reconfigured and one of the rooms has been lost, cutting down on the number of available slots.
Although CFDA lost its principal sponsor, Amazon Fashion, which had supported the men’s shows for the first two years, many of the other sponsors are returning. These include Cadillac, which will host seven shows “starting with Todd Snyder and ending with Rochambeau,” Beckham said. The others will be Robert Geller, Dyne, Kenneth Ning, Matiere and Luar.
Beckham said the designers who will show at Cadillac House will all have their shows covered by the automobile company. “The designers don’t pay anything,” he said. “It shows Cadillac’s commitment to the men’s market.”
Other sponsors for NYFW: Men’s are Axe, the New York Times, Tumblr, the Four Seasons, Samsung, Lifewater, Skyy Vodka, Design Within Reach, Launch Metrics and WWD.
According to the CFDA’s recently released annual report, NYFW: Men’s in 2016 hosted 127 designer shows: 62 in February and 65 in July. Over 20,000 people attended the shows last year and there were over 1.6 billion media impressions.
As it has since the beginning, New York Men’s Day will dominate the first day of the show calendar. The collective will once again showcase 12 designers: newcomers Daniel Hechter Paris, Descendant of Thieves, Head of State, Heliot Emil and Life in Perfect Disorder, as well as returning brands Bristol, David Hart, Krammer & Stoudt, Maiden Noir, Private Policy, R. Swiader and Wood House.
The shows, which are organized by Agentry founder Erin Hawker, will be held at Dune Studios at 55 Water Street. “New York Men’s Day moved downtown to Dune Studios last season in order to house all the designers under one roof and provide a more seamless experience for our guests,” she said, adding an outdoor experience will be added this season.
In addition, New York Men’s Day will partner with the Project trade show, which will showcase looks from the designers during its biannual trade show at the Jacob Javits Convention Center from July 16 to 18 in The Tents area. Project is also taking over an elevated public park outside Dune Studios during NYMD’s afternoon session for a new Fashion in the Park installation that will incorporate brands from the trade show and provide an interactive experience for attendees.
Erik Ulin, president of men’s at UBM Fashion, owner of Project, said, “The mission of NYMD and the synergy it has created over the past few years complement our core philosophy at Project, which is to showcase top luxury contemporary men’s wear designs out in the market today.”
New York Men’s Day is sponsored by Lab Series Skin Care for Men, Italian textile manufacturer Albini Group and Japanese underwear brand Body Wild, Oribe and Augment.
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