A fashionable friend wrote me recently, saying, “Are the tents losing their luster? I blame Project Runway!! What do the tents mean today? I mean come on, She by Sheree??? And meanwhile Sass & Bide, Betsey Johnson, and Vera Wang are dropping out?? What?!
LOL, he’s a bit dramatic, but he makes a good point.
What’s going on with Fashion Week?


Citing economic conditions, several designers, including DKNY, Betsey Johnson, Peter Som, Carmen Marc Valvo, Monique L’huillier, and Naeem Khan have decided to stage smaller intimate presentations in lieu of huge tent blowouts. With good reason: Big runway shows last less than 20 minutes, and can cost $100,000-$750,000.
Rather than this being an indication of a decline in prestige, I think designers are simply victims of tough economic times, just like everyone else. And I’m not too sure I buy that whole She by Sheree thing…I’ll believe it when I see it! Besides, plenty of tent regulars like Nanette Lepore, Tracy Reese, and BCBG are still showing.
But what do you think? Are the tents becoming less prestigious? There are some who argue that since we can view the collections online, we can do without the hustle and bustle….

*A bit of history on the tents: New York Fashion Week was created in 1943 by a well known publicist named Eleanor Lambert, who created a Press Week so that journalists and editors could see and write about American designers (who, at the time, played second fiddle to French designers). Press Week ended in the 1950’s, and afterwards, individual designers were charged with putting on their own fashion shows in loft spaces, clubs, or restaurants (a trend that continued well into the 90’s). Understandably, jamming several people into a cramped loft space proved quite dangerous, and in the Spring of 1994, Fern Mallis, Vice President of IMG, sought out a single venue where all the shows could take place. Thus Bryant Park Fashion Week was born. Now the event allows editors, writers, and buyers a chance to see the newest American designs in one centralized location. Nice, but in the digital age, is it necessary?

6 thoughts on “Have the Tents Lost their Luster?”

  1. Though I have never been, i would assume that an online show can not compare to being in the thick of things during Fashion Week. Just like seeing an artist perform live is a different experience than watching a video on MTV.

    I have to say I was SHOCKED by the rumor that She by Sheree will be showing and more than a little disappointed…

  2. She by Sheree isnt showing for fashion week. She denied those claims in an Essence.com interview.

  3. I think that collections should get into fashion week based on their work not just because they can afford it. From what I saw on the show (RHOA)Sheree’ has a lot to learn about the industry and isn’t ready for fashion week.

    As for fashion week being necessary, I believe it is. It’s one think to see something online, it’s another to see it in person. After the show, buyers and editors get a chance to better look at the collection. It’s hard to understand the flow and drape of a garment and see the small but important details of it in a photo. For fashion lovers maybe the internet is enough but for people working in the industry fashion week is necessary.

  4. I do think Fashion week is still necessary even with today’s online options. There is something to be said for seeing colors, fabrics, styles in person vs. a computer screen. Plus I think the designers love to show what celebrities are willing to come out to view their line. It makes it that much more fab.

  5. OMG! I have to believe that this is just a rumor. I think IMG knows better thank to approve of a showing by She by Sheree. I think it takes away from the prestige and the exclusivity of MBFW and it implies that it’s simply all about the money. Allowing Sheree to participate is comparable to allowing me to put on a show b/c while I know about fashion and have been immersed in the industry, worked as a freelance stylist, I know nothing when it comes to that which is required to actually execute a show. She didn’t even know how to pick out fabrics last season so my expectations of her show aren’t that high and I wouldn’t want to see her as part of MBFW. I have attended MBFW previously and it was one of the best experiences of my life. And yeah, it could easily be shown online but it is not the same. Being able to see color trends, makeup trends, celebs, top models and designers, being able to talk to them firsthand about the inspiration for their designs. The same way shopping online is more convenient but it still isn’t the same as actually seeing the pieces in the store, on the rack, being able to touch the fabric, etc. I pray MBFW continues. Folks in this industry live for it.

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