Fashion Week brings city big bucks, popularity
This week, designers, models and celebrities will flood the city for Fashion Week -- and the event will flood the city with cash.
Last year, the twice-annual Fashion Week generated $865 million for the city, according to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and brought in more than 200,000 visitors. Samantha Lim, editor-in-chief of the blog Fashion Indie, said the event -- which runs from Thursday through September 13 -- involves a broad swath of city industries, not just clothing makers.
"Not only does it involve fashion industry professionals, it involves creative artists, charities, stimulates the food and beverage industry, hospitality industry, brand sponsorship industries, and tourism," she said.
While only a select few can actually get into the elite Fashion Week parties, there are many different ways to experience the week's glitz and glamour.
In addition to the dozens of runway shows from big name designers, Fashion Week features special events such as Fashion's Night Out on Thursday.
Tricia Lewis, the director of digital media for the 34th Street Partnership and writer of the Fashion Herald blog, said Fashion's Night Out is the week's staple, offering a rare occasion where customers can meet their favorite garment designers and get great discounts on the trends.
"During Fashion's Night Out [retailers] will tour the city and have people stop by the store," she said.
Although Fashion Week dates back to the 1940s, the event has experienced a huge boost in popularity and attention during the last 30 years. Crowds were so big that organizers had to move shows from Bryant Park to Lincoln Center two years ago.
"The strength of New York City's fashion industry . . . has always been its spirit of entrepreneurship," Bloomberg said in February.
Lewis said Fashion Week has served as a magnet for designers who stick around the city long after the runway lights dim.
"If you've been in New York City for a while you'll see the change when it comes to fashion stores. We have a lot of new national and international retailers," she said.
During this Fashion Week, the city will step in to help expand things further.
The New York City Economic Development Corporation is set to reveal the three winners of its Project Pop-Up NYC competition for aspiring designers. Under the program, the winners will have their own rent-free pop up stores and PR and marketing teams to help promote their products.
Seth Pinksy, the EDC's chairman, said the contest is one of many city initiatives geared toward publicizing New York's fashion industry.
"By providing the opportunity to sell merchandise from a unique pop-up store, while also offering mentorship and business development training, this program will help these companies take their businesses to the next level," he said in a statement.
Lim said that designers see New York Fashion Week as a way to hone their style and the presentations that they will bring to the rest of the world.
"Designers bring their A game when it comes to impressing them all," she said of buyers, fashionistas and fashion lovers. "It sets the tone for their business for the rest of the season."