What is Fashion Week

What is Fashion Week

From runway to high street, Fashion Week is instrumental in setting trends and influencing our wardrobes. Fashion Week is celebrated in over 40 cities worldwide, but it all began in New York in 1943. Fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert established New York’s first fashion week during World War II, giving American designers an opportunity to showcase their work without having to compete with French designers. With fashion journalists unable to travel to Paris during the war, Eleanor Lambert’s “Press Week” put American designers in the spotlight and, as a result, fashion magazines started to feature American designs and fashions, having previously been dominated by French designers.

Nowadays, Fashion Week is celebrated all over the world but it is still dominated by “the big four.” London is known for its edgy, contemporary designs, Paris is renowned for couture, Milan takes a tailored and stylish approach to fashion, while New York is the pinnacle of Fashion Week where, according to Fern Mallis, vice president of IMG Fashion, “it all comes together.” Currently, New York’s Fashion Week is referred to as Mercedes Benz Fashion Week but there have been various sponsors over the years, giving rise to different names. Regardless of sponsorship deals, New York Fashion Week is internationally renowned and is perhaps the most famous Fashion Week of all worldwide.

The location for Fashion Week in New York has varied over the years, with runways being created in lofts and hotels. It wasn’t until 1994 that all designers came together to showcase their work in a central location. Following a structural accident inside the loft where Michael Kors was holding his fashion show, the event moved to Bryant Park, near New York Public Library where it has continued to be held every year since. Behind the tarpaulins of the large, white marquees, the most influential people within the world of fashion gather to establish the future trends and fashions of the coming seasons.

Fashion Week has evolved since its inception in 1943 and many cities now host two Fashion Weeks each year. Each February, New York kick starts Fashion Week across the globe as it launches designers’ autumn and winter collections. In September, fashion designers showcase their spring and summer collections. For most of us, Fashion Week is a chance to admire the glamour of fashion, the hair, the make up, the dresses and the celebrities. But for the fashion industry, Fashion Week plays a vital role in establishing what will be “in” or “out” in the coming seasons and also enables designers, fashion houses and buyers to do business.

Unfortunately for most of us, the closest we can ever hope to get to Fashion Week is through the photographic spreads in glossy magazines. Fashion Week is an invitation only event that is restricted to fashion buyers, magazine editors, fashion journalists, models and celebrities. But if you visit a high street store, you’ll be sure to see the influence that Fashion Week has on what makes it to the shop floor, and what gets relegated to the bargain basement.

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