- Title: USA: Designers at New York Fashion Week tackle the recession in innovative ways
- Date: 19th September 2009
- Summary: NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES (SEPTEMBER 17, 2009) (REUTERS) (NIGHT SHOTS) EXTERIOR OF BRYANT PARK TENTS AT FASHION WEEK VARIOUS OF DESIGNER ISAAC MIZRAHI FASHION SHOW
- Embargoed: 4th October 2009 18:42
- Location: Usa
- Country: USA
- Topics: Arts / Culture / Entertainment
- Reuters ID: LVA273SXCWNAXTPCGQGQ72M894RZ
- Aspect Ratio: 4:3
- Story Text: After a hectic week of fittings, photoshoots and fashion shows, New York Fashion Week has wound down. While there was a lot of glitz and glam, designers are also facing one of the biggest challenges of their careers -- how to get consumers shopping during the biggest economic downturn since the Great Depression. The answer to that question varied.
Anna Wintour, Editor-in-Chief at American Vogue, said the recession has caused designers to become more focused during the creation of their lines.
But focused doesn't mean boring. She said editors and consumers are more interested in investing in something unusual than classic.
"We're looking for things that are very special and not, not that looks like what you already have or already exists," she said. "I think every store that I talk to has that in the back of his or her mind when they revisit the collections and it's certainly what we're looking for at Vogue."
At the same time, many designers are more conscious about creating clothes that are wearable and slightly more affordable.
Designer Mark Badgley at Badgley Mischka said they reduced their prices.
"The entire industry has been smacked in the face with what's happened so everyone's really careful about those things right now," he said.
Christian Siriano who dazzled on the runway in the tents with his dramatic Spring 2010 collection said his business couldn't survive if he didn't also create more affordable lines. He, like many designers, has teamed up with a mass retailer. In September, he launched an accessories line for Payless that includes his sky-high shoes and handbags.
"You know for me working with a design team and part of the whole partnership, the kind of sponsorship that they bring with the Payless is really - kind of helps my brand completely because so many more people are buying a thirty dollar shoe than they're buying an a thousand dollar dress. It's - you can't even compare it really. It's massive," he said.
One of the most innovative approaches to tackling the recession was created by Norma Kamali. Giving new meaning to the democratization of fashion, she staged her show on a New York City street. Tourists and locals stood on the corner with coffee in hand watching the models in Kamali's signature jumpsuits and bathing suits stomp down the street.
Kamali has also fully embraced new technology and social networking sites like Twitter and YouTube.
"What I decided to do was to present some of the ideas of what we've been doing using new technology as a creative way to deal with the economy and some of the communication that's created this challenge for all of us in the fashion industry," she said.
Kamali created her own iPhone application which can be downloaded for free. The collection that she staged on Thursday (September 18) became available as soon as the show was over. Instead of having to wait until the clothes hit the stores in Spring, consumers can order them online through the application.
Kamali said she is not optimistic about the economy. She said she thought things were going to get worse before getting better. Someone with a more sunny view of the future is Fern Mallis, the Vice President of the IMG Group that organizes the fashion shows in the tents at Bryant Park.
"You know last season everybody was very dreary and down and I feel like we've come through the worst of the storm and I think we've seen some really nice clothes this week and hopefully the stores will buy them and the editors will write about them and the consumers will stick their hands in their pocket and take out their AMEX card," she said.
There is some positive data indicating that shoppers are hitting the stores again. Retail sales rose 2.7 percent in August, according to the Commerce Department. That was more than analysts expected.
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