Mark your calendars and get your most Anna Wintour-approved outfit ready because Governor Cuomo officially cleared New York Fashion Week (NYFW) to take place on Sept. 13-17. We are all invited—virtually of course!
An event like New York Fashion Week taking place during a pandemic does not come without a whole lot of regulations. Upon announcing the commencement of NYFW, Cuomo stated that shows can only happen “with strict compliance” of state procedures which include wearing face coverings, strategic distancing and temperature testing of guests and crew.
Arguably, the most drastic shift in the condensed schedule is that exhibits must either be outdoor events with a maximum of fifty people, or indoor events with no spectators that are broadcasted virtually. This regulation completely changes the dynamic of the week since spectators bring a certain energy to the shows that their absence can not replicate. On the other hand, virtual runways could allow for more creative ways to incorporate technical advancements, such as green screens and virtual reality tools that make viewing more engaging for viewers online.
These changes have undoubtedly led to multiple beloved designers opting out of New York Fashion Week, from Michael Kors to Tommy Hilfiger. Luckily, the official NYFW schedule features seventy-six designers, most of which will be using a digital activation format to showcase their collections. Others, like NYFW opener Jason Wu, will be utilizing a rooftop venue for more intimate viewing, open to just fifty select guests. No matter how the shows are displayed, designers have the chance to use the COVID safety guidelines as creative ammunition to put on a show like never before.
With primarily virtual shows, viewers will be able to live stream events through New York Fashion Week’s website, Youtube’s fashion page, or the CDFA’s new platform, RUNWAY360. RUNWAY360 will be making its debut for New York Fashion Week as a one-stop-shop for consumers to view live streams and buy items at any time, even once fashion weeks come to an end. The platform will promote accessibility of collections through this uncertain time for consumers while allowing for more business and marketing opportunities for the brands.
While the regulations put in place for NYFW are a result of a devastating pandemic, hopefully, designers will make the most of the situation by creating inspirational art that brings a little bit of emotional relief to its viewers. Time and again, fashion has proven itself as a means to collectively unite people through expressive art which just may be what we could use right now.