Step right up, fashion’s biannual show has begun and everyone is invited.
New York Fashion Week, which started Thursday and runs through this Thursday, features hundreds of designers showing their spring-summer 2012 collections at Lincoln Center and other venues throughout the city. There also are cameos from a wide range of characters, including Kylie Jenner, Rico the Zombie and Zoe Saldana.
Brands are looking for new and different ways to get the attention of fashion’s elite while also speaking directly to consumers who have been drawn into the once-insular fashion week. In recent years, consumers have gotten plugged in through live-streaming runway-show videos, up-to-the-minute tweets and the Vogue-sponsored Fashion’s Night Out, a global smorgasbord of celebrity- and designer-hosted shopping events.
Nicola Formichetti, the stylist-editor whose canvas is Lady Gaga, and a designer in his own right at the helm of the newly revived Mugler brand, has opened Nicola’s, a pop-up shop in SoHo built to look like a mirrored prism. There he is selling limited-edition pieces from his collaborations with Mugler, Uniqlo and Haus of Gaga. He’s also partnered with video game producer CCP Games on a “virtual catwalk show” featuring tout-tattooed model Rico the Zombie in clothes that users will be able to purchase for their characters to wear in the popular Eve Online video game. (It’s gotta be cheaper than a real-world Mugler.)
Fashion bloggers Bryanboy, Susie Bubble and Pelayo Diaz are curating a fashion show for the every-model, to be shown on Coca-Cola’s six-story Times Square billboard Thursday. The project showcases street-style looks chosen by the bloggers from submissions posted on Facebook, as well as photos they shot on Fashion’s Night Out.
Meanwhile, celebrities aren’t merely sitting on the sidelines anymore. Rather than lending their cachet to designers by sitting in the front row of a fashion show, they are commanding fees to appear at Fashion’s Night Out events where they can interact with fans. Other celebrities are using Fashion Week as a platform to promote their personal brands. Kylie Jenner (next in the line of ka-ching Kardashians) is modeling in Avril Lavigne’s Abbey Dawn runway show. Victoria Beckham, Rachel Zoe, Gwen Stefani and Daisy Fuentes are also showing their fashion collections, but sans Kardashians.
And Zoe Saldana is positioning herself as a different kind of fashion mogul. She and co-founder Keith Britton are toasting their online venture My Fashion Database, myfdb.com, which seems to want to be the imdb.com of the fashion industry, with the added feature of shopping. (Users can browse ad campaigns of their favorite brands and shop the looks.)
Off the official schedule, fashion is seeping into pop culture. Vanity Fair is hosting the “Fashion in Film” series at the Museum of Arts and Design; the Bard Graduate Center is opening an exhibition of hats curated by milliner Stephen Jones; and the museum at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising is previewing a show exploring heiress Daphne Guinness’ eclectic style.
Throughout the week, there are fashion shows to celebrate military veterans and Korean, Argentine, African and eco-friendly designers. And somewhere in between, presumably we’ll all stop and remember the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11, which falls in the middle of New York Fashion Week.
For those who just can’t fathom seeing, much less buying, fashion in these bleak economic times, Ventura, Calif.-based Patagonia and eBay have chosen the occasion of New York Fashion Week to announce the Common Threads Initiative, which challenges people not to consume.
“The Common Threads Initiative addresses a significant part of today’s environmental problem — the footprint of our stuff,” said Yvon Chouinard, founder of the famously eco-conscious Patagonia outdoor clothing brand, in a statement. “This program first asks customers to not buy something if they don’t need it. If they do need it, we ask that they buy what will last a long time — and to repair what breaks, reuse or resell whatever they don’t wear anymore. And, finally, recycle whatever’s truly worn out.”
List a used Patagonia product on eBay and you will be asked to take a pledge and become a Common Threads Initiative partner. Then your listing will be eligible for inclusion in the Common Threads Initiative storefront on eBay and on Patagonia.com. Patagonia will not receive any of the profit associated with the storefront.
Think of it as fashion for the Goodwill generation.