link.png The CFDA calls for change← Back

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The CFDA has published the results of a report by the Boston Consulting Group. The independent body had been enlisted to investigate the relevancy of New York Fashion Week at a moment when the fashion industry is having to reassess the way the system works.
The report consists of findings from interviews with 50 fashion industry insiders including designers, retailers and press with the main conclusion being that “the time is ripe for change.” Multiple factors lie behind this prevalent feeling. The increasing use of digital means that consumers are exposed to designs for months before the pieces land in store, leading to “consumer fatigue”. In addition, out-of-season delivery drops lead to markdowns that are detrimental to brands. Meanwhile, many designers are facing burnout because of working in such a high-paced system.
In the face of this, the report comes up with a range of solutions which are all linked to in-season relevancy. The first option is focused on “in-season events”: this could include low-key previews for press combined with later seasonal fashion events (not necessarily fashion shows) that are customer-orientated, for example. As a second option, the CFDA suggests a hybrid model that lies between the current system and in-season strategies, whereby designers might decide to continue showing six months in advance but include “see-now, buy-now” pieces.
Video - Rebecca Minkoff's #SeeBuyWear show

A handful designers have already started applying these new concepts: Rebecca Minkoff trialed the “see-now, buy-now” idea for her NYFW show by including current season pieces and Tom Ford cancelled his presentation in February, opting instead for a seasonal show in Autumn 2016.
The CFDA’s report doesn’t offer a single solution, but instead gives some pointers and leaves it in the hands of the designers to make the right decision for their label. The report concludes: “While the CFDA will not promote only one specific idea at this time, it was imperative to bring out all the issues. It will encourage designers to try and experiment with new concepts and will foster continued conversations on the topic through stakeholder meetings, panel conversations, and workshops throughout the year.”
As designers start to identify and implement the model that works best for their brand, the CFDA predicts that change will gradually happen over the next two to three years. With the CFDA having officially initiated a discussion and openly supporting change, it’s clear that we’re at the very beginning of a major fashion system shake-up that will extend way beyond New York.