NEW YORK — WME/IMG has completed its acquisition of Made Fashion Week.
News that the competing show organizations were negotiating first appeared in January.
Made Fashion Week, which began in 2009 as an alternative for designers who couldn’t afford to show at traditional venues, has featured approximately 30 runway shows and presentations each season from designers that have included Altuzarra, Cushnie et Ochs, Public School, Proenza Schouler, Jeremy Scott, Sophie Theallet, Ohne Titel, Wes Gordon and Alexander Wang. Made offers young designers free space, production and makeup — costs that could easily rise into the five figures — a strategy that’s expected to continue.
The combination of IMG and Made is an interesting turn of events for the two former fashion show rivals, which have vied for designers and sponsors in the past.
Through this acquisition, Made Fashion Week will continue to operate as a separate entity while strategically aligning with WME/IMG to provide additional opportunities and creative resources for both entities’ designers and partners. As a private company, WME/IMG declined to reveal the purchase price for Made.
“As we reimagine New York Fashion Week with new venues, experiences and platforms for the industry, we are excited to add Made Fashion Week to our portfolio,” said Catherine Bennett, senior vice president and managing director, IMG Fashion Events & Properties. “This acquisition creates new opportunities for all our designers and partners to grow and evolve their businesses not only during fashion week in New York, but globally throughout the year.” Among the support programs offered to designers are DHL Exported and Mercedes-Benz Start Up (for Canadian designers).
IMG is in final negotiations for new venues for the spring 2016 New York runway shows that will be shown in September, following the expiration of its contract with Lincoln Center. News of the show spaces is expected shortly, and IMG declined comment Friday. IMG also lost its main title sponsor, Mercedes-Benz, for the New York runway shows going forward (Mercedes-Benz continues to support IMG fashion weeks globally.) Among IMG’s current sponsors are E!, TRESemmé, DHL, Papyrus, Pandora and Maybelline.
Made’s leadership team, including Keith Baptista, partner and managing director at Prodject and partner at OBO Paris; Mazdack Rassi, cofounder and creative director of Milk Studios, and Jenné Lombardo, founder of The Terminal Presents, will continue to oversee Made Fashion Week’s day-to-day operations and consult on WME/IMG’s broader fashion events strategy.
“Made has been a platform that supports creative vanguards in fashion, music, technology and culture and makes their work possible,” said Baptista. “As part of the WME/IMG family, Made will expand its reach and remain on the front line of fostering new talent and encouraging bold new voices.” Made’s shows and presentations take place at Milk Studios at 450 West 15th Street and the Standard High Line Hotel at 848 Washington Street. Made’s sponsors include American Express, Maybelline, The Wall Street Journal, Lexus, Macy’s and Accenture.
The New York Fashion Week and Made Fashion Week spring 2016 collections will take place Sept. 10 through Sept. 17.
Wes Gordon, who showed at Milk Studios as part of Made Fashion Week last month, thought it was a great experience and would happily show there again.
“I loved it. As a young designer, it’s hard to balance the expectations people have to do a slick, elegant show with a budget. Partnering with them is a great way to make it happen. It’s such a well-oiled machine. It was so well done.” He said he’s done a runway show on his own in the past, but Made had an opening and was able to add him to the schedule. “They cover a lot of it. It’s hugely helpful,” Gordon said.