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New York Fashion Week will dip its toe into retail this season with the debut of a new concept by Manufacture New York. The fashion incubator is starting its own Fashion Week show destination, which will integrate retail, showroom and runway at one space in Chelsea.
From February 5 through 12, the Fashion Week project—named Launch NYC—will present as many as 18 shows from a diverse group of designers. And unlike other Fashion Week stops which only focus on runway, Launch NYC will also allow attendees to preview and purchase items.
"When I would attend runway shows at Fashion Week, I was always excited to see the pieces after the show and wanted to buy them but they weren't available 'til much later," Bland told Racked at Launch NYC's studio on 17th Street last week.
NYFW has been forced to evolve in recent years, and several NYFW locations have sprung up to threaten IMG's powerful presence, like Milk Studios in Chelsea and Spring Studios in Tribeca, as well as several galleries.
Many have complained the scene at Lincoln Square has gotten too crowded; as the New York Times noted in September, a few designers find the site "depressing" and say that though the shows, "may look like the most fabulous party on earth, insiders are getting a little tired of all the fuss." After much buzz about NYFW crashers, IMG Fashion announced last month it would implement tighter credentialing for Fashion Week. Still, designers like Vera Wang, Diane von Furstenberg and Michael Kors have all announced they will not show at Lincoln Square this season.
Image via Shutterstock.
Bland said MNY is still looking for other designers to partner with, so long as they meet the criteria, which is to have domestic manufacturing.
Launch NYC's space has bare-white brick walls, wooden floors and high ceilings, giving designers a blank-canvas opportunity to be creative with their shows. The 5,000-square-foot pop-up space is owned by electronics store Adorama, one of the event's sponsors.
MNY's shows will be live streamed, with video monitors outside for passersby to watch. As a form of performance art, some designers will be set up at sewing machines inside the studio's window-front to create some samples.
A fashion show at Launch NYC costs $7,500, with a max capacity seating of 250. Tickets can be available to press, VIPs, or the general public, depending on the designers' preference. This is in sharp contrast to Mercedes Benz's Fashion Week model at Lincoln Center, where shows start at $25,000. Bland said the goal is to make NYFW accessible to a full array of designers.
"Fashion Week didn't make financial sense for while for many designers. I'm not saying Fashion Week is dead but the fashion community needs to take the creativity that's put into big-scale Fashion Week and reinvent the fashion ecosystem," she said. "The fashion community should work together to make Fashion Week accessible to everyone."
· DVF, Michael Kors: Tribeca Is the New Lincoln Center [Racked]
· Carolina Herrera Probably Too Elegant for Even the New NYFW [Racked]
· Five Major Changes to Expect at Fashion Week This Spring [Racked]