Feb 1, 2016
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Fashion Week Men's digging in its roots in New York

Feb 1, 2016

After a successful launce in July, Fashion Week Men's made a highly anticipated return to New York this Monday after making its rounds in London, Milan and Paris, and is attempting to dig its roots deeper around trade professionals.

Duckie Brown - Spring-Summer 2016 - Menswear - New York - © PixelFormula

Eager to transform the test of this second edition into a permanent fixture, the organizers of the New York event are offering an even more dense schedule than for the AW16 calendar in the summer - 60 shows compared to 51 - and a focus on wider media coverage, with some 800 requests for accreditation compared to just over 500. Nearly half of the shows are being held in the southwest corner of Manhattan. The women's show will follow a week later.

"The success of the first men's Fashion Week Men's surpassed all of our expectations," Steven Kolb, President and CEO of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), told the AFP.

"The support of the press and local buyers was essential, just like that of the international community of men's clothing," noted Bruce Pask, director of men's fashion at Bergdorf Goodman.

However, it is still too early to declare victory, recognizes Steven Kolb, with lots still needing to be done before it can really stand up against the European giants. "We're only at the second season and we still have to demonstrate that our actions are worthy of the attention of journalists and buyers," he explained. According to him, the next challenge is to increase the participation of the international players."

The calendar for the four-day event is not yet as chic as its European counterparts' but it isn't lacking in panache either. Some of the major names include Tommy Hilfiger, Michael Kors, Calvin Klein (eveningwear capsule collection), Perry Ellis, Theory, and John Varvatos.

Surfing the trendy streetwear wave, a new guard of designers will no doubt arouse the interest of fashion editors and bloggers searching for new icons of cool, with Public School and John Elliott included of course, but also California's Stampd, awarded best men's brand by GQ magazine in 2015.

Eyes will also be on Duckie Brown, whose show was a smash hit in July, Greg Lauren, Ralph's nephew, the American designer is himself absent this season, Siki Im and his artistic installations, Gipsy Sport (winner of the Vogue/CFDA award in 2015), Robert Geller, men's suit specialist Joseph Abboud, the brother of designer Rebecca Minkoff, Uri Minkoff, and Californians Second/Layer and Jeffrey Rüdes.

Some names are nevertheless missing from the calendar, including the very popular Thom Browne, who showed in Paris, Rag & Bone, which will be presenting a mixed show during the traditional women's fashion week, and Michael Bastian, even though he was a longtime defender of a men's fashion week. The designer has opted for a "private in-studio shoot", his press service told the AFP.

Nothing surprising in this, according to some observers, according to whom this second NY Fashion Week Men's has been subject to scheduling problems off the bat.

"The timing isn't great this season: we follow the European shows too closely," which gives buyers and editors little time for travel and to be present at the shows. The priority for many of them is still the women's shows, said Vincenzo Gatto, who teaches at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT). "Especially since the men's clothing trade fairs have just ended and many buyers have already left for Florida, the Midwest or California," whereas in July the organizers "managed to have everything coincide," he added.

For this expert in the sector, "the initiative of a Fashion Week dedicated to men remains an excellent one": men are no longer "drowned in the mass of womenswear shows," a sector that isn't seeing as strong a growth as it once did but which is still largely dominant. "And this allows lesser known designers and innovators to garner attention" in an exploding universe of men's clothing.

By Prune Perromat

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