In just the last week, Barneys has departed to become a sub-brand of Saks Fith Avenue, Zac Posen has shuttered his business and Tiffany & Co became a target for LVMH, just the latest round of changes to the New York fashion scene.
The turmoil we feel in London seems to be a ripple in comparison to the waves crashing down on the city that never sleeps. The news of people pulling out of their fashion week, closing businesses or filing for bankruptcy protection is a stream that threatens to grow into a river.
The question for most is what will happen but for me, the question is could this be the opportunity for New York to create a new image?
NYFW has been known for its commercial collections, looks that would fill any of the many august and resplendent department stores and boutiques that lay across the city, this could play a part in its current malaise. In comparison to Europe and even more so Asia it feels safe, conventional and dare I say it, tame. The creativity of London, the pow and pop of Milan, the chic of Paris, the edge of Tokyo and the emerging exciting talents of Seoul & Shanghai it just feels like a quiet relation.
But in this moment it will pay to be bold, to embrace the many talented designers the city has outside its international houses, to promote from within the designers that the city loves but the word should know.
A time to risk a reshuffle of the schedule, the old guard will always have a place, however, it is more than time to add creativity and eccentricity, the celebrity designers are all well and good, but are those collections really showing the best the city has to offer?
The city has gradually lost its ateliers, perhaps stifling the flow of young designers that traditionally would learn at the feet of the last generation before taking the torch forward as they grew in confidence and technique. This is also causing a rift for graduates, with fewer places to work at post-education has it affected the desirability to study there, after all any fashion city is only as good as it’s the pipeline of young talent coming through.
Perhaps, and the same applies for London, the nomadic life NYFW has led, three locations in 9 years, Bryant Park, The Lincoln Centre, The Spring Centre, caused an identity crisis, designers started to seek alternative venues, and the organisers of the event focused more on venue selection than the needs of the designers.
These are a lot of questions, I don’t profess to have all the answers, but something feels very amiss and I hope an answer is found before one of the great fashion producing cities in the world becomes nothing more than a retail destination.