- Title: USA: Recession affects New York Fashion Week
- Date: 13th February 2009
- Summary: NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK USA (FEBRUARY 10, 2009) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF TENTS AT BRYANT PARK VARIOUS OF TENTS BEING BUILT (2 SHOTS) NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK USA (RECENT) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) EXECUTIVE EDITOR OF STYLE.COM NICOLE PHELPS, SAYING: "Everyone is paying attention to the bottom line a lot more than they have in the past. So, certain designers have scaled back meaning they have cut their invite list in half. Marc Jacobs who is known for his bold over the top show cut his invite list in half other designers are downscaling moving from the tent in the Bryant Park area to a smaller venue. Still, other designers are leaving the tents all together to show either in their showrooms or in a restaurant."
- Embargoed: 28th February 2009 12:00
- Location: Usa
- Country: USA
- Topics: Fashion,Economic News
- Reuters ID: LVA2WGYX1VA9LTGJTOL68PGSZC9W
- Story Text: "Change" is the mot du jour for American designers. As New York Fashion Week gets ready to kick off, designers find creative ways to cope with the tough toll the recession is having on the fashion industry.
New York Fashion Week is approaching and the runways are being built in Bryant Park. But this season there's a dark cloud looming over the tents and the fashion industry. Sales are down for many American retailers and well known outlets like Macy's are downsizing their staff. As a result, fashion designers are tightening their belts too looking for creative ways to show their fall 2009 collections.
Nicole Phelps, Executive editor of Style.com, says there is no doubt that "everyone is paying attention to the bottom line a lot more than they have in the past."
"Certain designers have scaled back meaning they have cut their invite list in half. Marc Jacobs who is known for his bold over the top show cut his invite list in half other designers are downscaling moving from the tent in the Bryant Park area to a smaller venue. Still, other designers are leaving the tents all together to show either in their showrooms or in a restaurant," Phelps explains.
Designer Mara Hoffman says she has been forced to trim her collection and make less samples this season - but, that is a small price to pay for survival.
"I feel like I'm watching our contemporaries go down every day and that feeling is like, you have to remind yourself to stay up," Hoffman says.
"We've definitely felt it, our sales have been hit, we're dealing with stores closing every day. People bouncing their shipments back, their checks are bouncing, it's a really hard business right now."
Designing for nine years, Hoffman is known for creating ethnic inspired prints, which she creates in her New York studio and then are manufactured locally. In preparing for this season, Hoffman says it was difficult not to get bogged down in the gloomy atmosphere, but she did not let that impact her palette choice for this season.
"There is definitely black and gray within the collection but it's based around color and vibrancy and life. What I feel we need more of is seeing the light, seeing the brightness - there's enough darkness - so I went with color."
One of the ways Hoffman has been able to keep her costs down is by sharing a time slot on the runway with two other designers at Mercedes-Benz fashion week. Nicholas K, Sergio Davila and Hoffman each have a different aesthetic, so she says no one feels overshadowed.
The designers will each show between 24 and 32 looks, down about 10 from what they've shown previously. They split the cost of hair and makeup, rental space as well as lighting and production.
Higher profile designers are feeling the pinch too. Some of the most well-known names at fashion week, including Betsey Johnson, Monique Lhuillier, Vera Wang and Carmen Marc Valvo have opted not to do runway shows this season.
Instead, these designers are doing presentations to defray costs.
Fern Mallis, the Senior Vice President of IMG, says "everything is changing a little bit," but refutes the idea that the fashion presentations are a signal that fashion week is in trouble.
"Everybody is just doing their business a little bit smarter.
You know that's what this is about. This is the time to be a little more creative and creative covers a lot of territories. Creative in their design, creative in their spending and creative in their execution. There's a credit crunch, not a creative crunch," Mallis says.
Couture designer Carmen Marc Valvo, a staple at the tents at Bryant Park for over six years, is not showing this year.
Marc Valvo has opted for a toned-down fashion presentation, filmed in advance, which will air on big screens at a cocktail party.
Says Marc Valvo,
"I think this year, with everything that's happening with the economy and at retail, to have such a huge fashion show presentation seemed a little bit extreme and I think right now the industry is looking for things that are a little bit more intimate, a little bit more humane and perhaps a little bit more sensitive to the pocket book."
With the average show at Bryant Park costing upwards of 75,000 U.S.
dollars many designers like Marc Valvo are being priced out of the tents, to less glitzy venues.
And in a recession ridden economy, off-runway fashion presentations may be here to stay.
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