NY Fashion Week adapts to changing designer needs, business models

Wed Sep 7, 2016 2:27pm EDT
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By Patricia Reaney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New looks on the runway at New York Fashion Week will be met with changes behind the scenes as designers tweak their shows and schedules to meet the needs and expectations of digitally engaged consumers.

About 100 designers will showcase their collections at the fashion fest that begins on Thursday. The looks are expected to hark back to the 1980s and feature shirtdresses, well-defined, generous cuts, ruffles and clothes that transcend the seasons.

"I think we are going to see a lot more seasonless merchandise; in other words it is going to be more about layering," said Lizzy Bowring, head of the catwalks department at trend forecasting and analysis company WGSN.

Another theme will be athletic-inspired fashion and street-style looks, popularized by singers Kanye West, Beyonce and Rihanna, whose Fenty Puma collection will be available in pop-up shops and stores this week.

"A lot of people are going into this realm and I think it is what people are actually buying too," said William Kahn, fashion market and accessories director at Hearst Magazines, Town & Country.

"The celebrity culture is so strong right now, if Beyonce or Rihanna put their name on something it can create a major trend in itself."

While many designers will be showing 2017 Spring/Summer collections that will not be in stores for months, others will try a different format by showing in-season fashions.

Some brands are opting for the "see now, buy now" model with the designs on the runway, or capsule collections, immediately available to customers. Appointment-only presentations are another option, as are online shows and combining men's and women's fashions into one presentation.   Continued...

Attendees watch as models present creations from God Save Queens Spring/Summer 2017 collection during New York Fashion Week in the Manhattan borough of New York, U.S., September 7, 2016.  REUTERS/Lucas Jackson