NEW YORK — Following a spate of last-minute calendar changes during the New York collections in February, the Council of Fashion Designers of America is preparing a memo to designers saying that it is not appropriate to unilaterally move their show dates without the input of their colleagues.
A group of about 16 representatives from designer companies, retailers and the press met on Thursday to discuss issues relevant to fashion week — focusing specifically on date changes and the timing of the upcoming September shows — as part of an advisory group formed by the CFDA last year. Although the organization does not intend to enforce regulations of fashion shows, it is compiling a list of guidelines intended to improve the general operations of the week and to discourage unsportsmanlike conduct between designers.
In February, Calvin Klein, which tends to have a lock on major models for an extended period of time before and after its show, moved its scheduled time back by several days without informing the designers who had already announced their intentions to show at that time. The sudden move led to a domino effect of show changes throughout the week.
“With regards to scheduling, we would suggest that anybody who wants to change their date after the calendars and invitations are printed has got to talk with the Fashion Calendar, the CFDA and 7th on Sixth about their issue and try to resolve it, hopefully without disadvantage to anybody else,” said Peter Arnold, executive director of CFDA, who feels that a collective industry statement on the issue would encourage designers to make decisions with the collective good in mind.
The Fashion Calendar has long been the clearinghouse for show times and has done so in collaboration with 7th on Sixth since its inception in 1993.
“People do understand the p.r. value of being seen as a good person and not too capricious or uncaring,” Arnold said. “This is all going to be incremental, but several years going forward, we may just have a list of procedures that everyone does abide by.”
The advisory group — which included Arnold and Stan Herman from the CFDA; Fern Mallis from 7th on Sixth, and representatives of Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors, Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar — also discussed several complaints about the proposed dates for New York’s spring 2005 collections, to be shown Sept. 8-15 — a period that includes the Sept. 11, 2001, anniversary on a Saturday and ends with Rosh Hashanah at sundown on Sept. 15. Citing holidays later in the month and the difficulties of obtaining samples from Europe any sooner, they concluded that there were no viable alternatives to recommend, Arnold said.