Next week marks the third installment of New York Fashion Week: Men’s. From July 11-14, the Big Apple will again attempt to reach the heights of other men’s only weeks like London Collections: Men and Paris Fashion Week. Though men’s fashion enthusiasts are gushing with excitement, the SS17 shows could prove to be a pivotal moment for the fledgling week.
NYFWM has been largely criticized for its lack of blockbuster talent. While top designers like Thom Browne and Hood By Air opt to show overseas, it’s mainly rising talent that takes center stage at NYFWM. Additionally, many designers are challenging the current fashion industry business model by showing men’s and women’s together to more closely align with buying calendars. Most notably, Public School created its own runway calendar and was noticeably absent from the NYFWM calendar.
And speaking of that calendar, a quick glance of the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s (CFDA) official calendar reveals a lot of empty slots. The only day with a full roster is Wednesday, July 13.
Aside from the struggle to attract big names and fill schedules, NYFWM has also been critically maligned for its focus on commerce. In a recent interview with New York Times, CFDA president Steven Kolb defended the organization’s decision to house almost all of the season’s shows under one roof. Almost every show and presentation during the week will take place at lower Manhattan’s Skylight Clarkson Square-a large (and mostly bare) warehouse space.
Kolb shared that the objective of NYFWM is to help the involved designers grow their businesses. The week serves an opportunity to get designs in front of buyers and editors who will help drive sales. He also reiterated that he would not back away from his business focus. But many critics have complained that Skylight Clarkson Square limits the designers’ abilities to showcase their full creative visions.
Many people, from fashion bloggers to journalists, have openly questioned whether this week can survive at all. Undoubtedly, a poor showing during the upcoming week could have a huge impact on the future of NYFWM.