Is fashion the economy’s next casualty?


Editor in Chief

First it was the banking and credit industry. Then the auto industry took a hit. According to the department of labor, unemployment hit 7.2 percent in December. All the while, fashion designers around the world continued to prepare for one of fashion’s most coveted events — New York Fashion Week. But is fashion the next victim of the struggling economy?

Much like Nissan, Mitsubishi and Suzuki who all dropped out of this week’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit, many fashion designers are opting out of New York’s biannual fashion week in February. Vera Wang and Betsey Johnson are among designers who have chosen to pull of out the Bryant Park tent shows. (Both Wang and Johnson have affordable lines at Kohl’s and Macy’s respectively.)

According to Crain’s New York Business,* the hefty price of a full-scale production explains why many designers are choosing to scale back. A show in Bryant Park, which includes rental fees, lighting, sound, furniture and services like security and hair, makeup and model fees, costs as much as $100,000. Attendance is also expected to drop this year.

Fifty-two designers have been confirmed for runway shows according to the Wall Street Journal. This year Tommy Hilfiger and William Rast (the line co-owned by Justin Timberlake) who do not traditionally show in tents, will make an appearance. With the show less than a month away, the average 90 designers may not fill the tents at Bryant Park.

First our credit, then our rides, now our threads. Coco Chanel once said, “Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.”

What is happening is that every industry from the banks to the auto industry — and now our sacred fashion designers — are adjusting to the struggling economy. Fashion week will still go off without a hitch and we will still be as stylish as ever, but the new economy puts things in a new perspective.

*Here’s the link for Crain’s New York Business: