While international fashion cities like Milan and Paris are going ahead with physical shows come fall’s Fashion Month, IMG, the company that owns and operates NYFW: The Shows, is still working out the details amidst the pandemic.
On Thursday, WWD reported that IMG sent out a "fashion week deck" to all participating designers to determine their interest in holding shows in September. The accompanying letter, obtained by WWD, reportedly reads: “Over the past few months, we’ve heard from so many of you about the challenges you face, your uncertainty about what’s ahead and the plans you’re making to weather the storm while keeping your team and customers safe. The stories vary widely, but there’s been one common thread: This is a time that will require all of our collective creativity and commitment to help the industry we love not just survive, but thrive.”
The plans, which according to the article, are subject to the Phase Four reopening of New York City, included an outline of the health and safety precautions that will be put in place at Spring Studios, where NYFW: The Shows takes place every season, including temperature checks, mandatory face shields and goggles for hair and makeup artists, hand sanitizer stations throughout the building, and more. Attendees and employees will also be required to wear face masks at all times. In addition, Spring Studios will reportedly offer extra rooftop presentation space for designers and a dedicated livestream for shows.
According to WWD, show formats on the table range from immersive runway shows and presentations to livestreamed productions, pop-up shops, and original films.
Since the pandemic hit New York, the city has yet to hold a major fashion event, with men's and resort ‘21 programming having been cancelled by the CFDA back in May. “The decision was based on the current global situation, the ongoing uncertainty regarding its impact on retailers and their open-to-buys, and designers’ challenges in producing collections at this moment,” a statement from the organization said. “The CFDA remains respectful of everyone’s priorities during this time. First and foremost protecting the health and wellbeing of our teams and ourselves, and stabilizing business operations.”
At the end of June, WWD reported that NYFW will be shortened to just three days, with shows — be they digital or physical — set to take place from September 14 to 16, rather than 11 to the 16, as previously planned. Depending on demand, it was reported, an extra day on September 17 would be added to the calendar.
Even if IMG does go through with NYFW as planned, it’s unlikely to be the same without New York’s heavy hitters like Michael Kors, Gabriela Hearst, and Marc Jacobs, who have already cancelled showing in New York in September. Kors released a statement in June, postponing the presentation of his spring ‘21 collection until later this year, while Hearst announced plans to show in Paris instead.
When asked for comment, IMG said that it does not have "anything to share beyond what has been reported in the WWD story."