The Case of a Men's NYFW

The idea of a stand-alone men's fashion week in New York has been floated around for a few years, especially after London launched London Collections: Men in 2012. Earlier this month, news started breaking that the powers that be, primarily the CFDA, are hoping to launch a men's-only fashion week in New York in July, shortly after the conclusion of Paris Fashion Week, both men's and couture.

There are, of course, issues. Prime among them is funding. The CFDA's CEO Steven Kolb said one of the biggest obstacles is that there is a funding gap, to the tune of $2 million. Another one is the lack of large fashion houses to draw in sponsors, buyers and editors. Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein have reportedly declined to show, meaning sponsors will find it difficult to justify shelling out money without the draw of those two world-renowned design houses. Others, likes Marc Jacobs, Tommy Hilfiger, Perry Ellis and Michael Kors have opted to decline comment, at least publicly.

When LC:M first debuted, Burberry, the most iconic and recognized British label in the world opted to continue to show their collection during Milan Fashion Week, it took Burberry a year before it decided to show during LC:M. There are obviously various obligations, like contracts in Milan, that may have held back Burberry's participation but it should be noted that the house had sales of about £1.9 billion (about $3 billion USD) the year LC:M had its inaugural showing in 2012. It may have been financially imprudent for them to move their show back to London but for a label whose very legacy is so deeply English, its show of support would have added greatly to LC:M's success especially in those early days. Should this menswear fashion week in New York and become a success, will Calvin Klein, Thom Browne and others return? Shouldn't the former, whose headquarters and corporate owner is in New York, be leading the charge?

However, it makes sense that American designers moved their shows to Europe because late June/early July is when men's buyers place their orders. September, when NYFW happens, is just too late in the year for mens buyers to pace their orders. The list of menswear labels that are leaving New York, primarily because of this problem increases every year. In recent years, DKNY Mens, rag & bone, and Coach have either shown in London or plan to do so. With their new plan, however, the CFDA is hoping to circumvent that issue.

With menswear sales outpacing womenswear in recent years and analysts concluding that that trend will continue, it makes sense for New York to highlight their multinational designers in their hometown. Now if it can only secure the funding and convince the expats like Calvin Klein, Thom Browne, John Varvatos, and Phillip Lim to bring their runway shows back to New York. It should be noted that those four labels are headquartered in New York.

The saying "if you build it, they will come" is apropos to this situation but at this rate, the CFDA may not even have the funds to start building the infrastructure and organization needed to attract sponsors but also attract back the previously mentioned runway shows back to New York. New York is the fashion capital of the world, after all.

If the plan gets pushed back to 2016 or later, this writer contends that if/when it does happen, it will be another boom in New York’s economy, who estimates that the fashion industry has an economic impact of about $850 million per year.