The challenging retail environment coupled with the growing trend toward see-now-buy-now is prompting changes in the fledgling New York Fashion Week: Men’s calendar.
The third edition of the standalone men’s showcase, which launched with the support of the Council of Fashion Designers of America last July, will see some familiar names opting to do their own thing this time while others are still solidly behind the effort.
More than 65 shows are on the official spring calendar, the same or slightly more than the fall shows in February, according to Mark Beckham, director of fashion weeks for the CFDA. The shows are scheduled from Monday, July 11, through Thursday, July 14, and the main venue will once again be Skylight Clarkson Sq.
Among those on the official schedule are Perry Ellis, which opens the week on Monday morning, Joseph Abboud, Michael Kors, Tommy Hilfiger, Todd Snyder, Rag & Bone, Robert Geller and John Elliott. John Varvatos will once again close the week on Thursday night.
But there are also some notable names missing: Ralph Lauren, his nephew Greg Lauren, Billy Reid, Calvin Klein and Gant among them.
Beckham said that several designers are pondering the results of a recent CFDA-sponsored study by Boston Consulting Group on the viability of fashion shows “to see what makes the most sense for them.”
As a result, several of the participating brands including Todd Snyder, Rag & Bone, Nautica, Cadet, Timo Weiland and Stampd will include “some sort of direct-to-consumer” element in their shows and presentations, Beckham said.
Snyder, for example, is taking over Madison Square Park in the NoMad district for his show, Beckham said, the neighborhood where the designer will open his first U.S. standalone store in the fall. “He’s going to own the NoMad area and put his stamp on it,” Beckham said.
The key sponsors of the week are returning — Amazon Fashion, Cadillac, East Dane, Shinola, Axe and the Skylight Group. Dockers, which had a two-year commitment, has exited, Beckham said, but Samsung has stepped up to sponsor the emerging talent space. Nine up-and-coming brands, some new and others returning, will be included and their names will be revealed in the next week. Samsung is also planning to create a virtual reality experience at the shows, Beckham said.
New Era, the hat company, has also signed on as a sponsor and will create an official NYFW: Men’s cap and will also collaborate with Snyder and Ovadia & Sons on hats that will be shown on their runways.
Loews Hotel will house international editors and buyers again, he said. And CFDA is “talking with Liberty, Capsule, Project and MRket to leverage their attendees.” The Liberty and Capsule shows will be held concurrent with NYFW: Men’s and Project and its latest addition, MRket, will be held immediately after the runway shows.
A new space, Cadillac House on Hudson and Charlton streets, two blocks from Skylight Clarkson Sq, will host six designers, Beckham said. The automotive company is underwriting the show production for these brands, which include Gypsy Sport, Bespoken, Timo Weiland, Katama and EFM. Cadillac will also host the opening-night event on Monday.
Beckham acknowledged that several of America’s biggest names in men’s fashion continue to prefer to show in Europe — Thom Browne, Ralph Lauren and Coach — or have opted against showing at all this season — Calvin Klein and Tom Ford. But he believes the New York shows are most valuable as a showcase for emerging designers. “We’re supporting them and giving them a platform,” he said.
Beckham said he expects “a good, solid list of 500 or so people” to attend the shows. “We want the right people in the room, not just people.”
One person who won’t be in the room will be Billy Reid. The designer has opted to have a presentation in his new showroom on Bond Street sometime after the shows have ended. He is also planning a “consumer-facing initiative” that will take place during his annual Shindig, a press trip and multipronged festival he will host in his hometown of Florence, Ala., at the end of August, according to his publicist.
And while Perry Ellis is on the official calendar, the brand will hold a presentation at its offices instead of the Skylight Clarkson Sq location. Michael Maccari, creative director, said: “Being first felt appropriate ― Perry Ellis is an iconic American brand with a long history in New York, so opening the week is something we’re excited to do. This season we’re moving from the traditional runway format to a more-focused presentation. We are evolving with the way collections are being presented to media and consumers. With all of the discussion around see-now-buy-now, we are definitely altering our approach towards the digital and social space to best engage consumers.”
Duckie Brown, which showed only six looks at its fall show, this time is skipping the catwalk altogether. Instead, the design duo will create a short 45-second film that will feature one look they believe will capture the essence of the collection. A poster will also be produced that will be sent to retailers and press.
Luis Fernandez, creative director of Craft Atlantic, is also taking a pass. The brand instead is hosting private appointments in its showroom and is contemplating showing in February at a combined industry and consumer event when the collection hits stores.
Although not all the brands are returning, CFDA is moving ahead aggressively to promote the week. The group has turned to Paper Magazine to create the campaign for the spring shows, tapping style director Adele Cany and JUCO Photo to shoot five male models against colorful backgrounds wearing looks from participating designers including Gypsy Sport, John Elliott, Michael Kors and others. The idea was to showcase diversity in terms of both brands and models.
Drew Elliott, chief creative officer of Paper, said the campaign represents “a modern expression of men’s wear. Whether you are a New Yorker seeing these on billboards or a fashion lover admiring the creative on Instagram, we wanted to make something that was approachable yet loud.”