Why Alexander Wang and other designers are abandoning New York Fashion Week

And it’s all to do with the digital world.

Alexander Wang has announced that he will no longer be showing at New York Fashion Week, just weeks out from the February event.

He joins the growing list of designers abandoning the once formidable bi-annual showcase in the industry’s fashion month calendar.

Forgoing his usual runway extravaganza, the move from Wang is said to be a strategic decision spurred by the changing industry and the demand from fans for ‘see now, buy now’ seasonless collections. He confirmed he will now show during the pre-collection schedule in June and December, and split those collections into monthly deliveries.

In other words, Wang’s tactic is ultimately reducing the time between initial product reveal and customers’ ability to purchase.

Kendall Jenner and Candice Swanepool walk the alleyway for Alexander Wang’s #WangFest
in September 2017 – NYFW

According to Glossy, Wang’s latest decision hasn’t been lost on organisers of the event.

“Customers are in charge, and the traditional fashion calendar, which prioritised wholesale relationships, is out of sync with their behaviour.

“So the designers — more in charge of their own decisions, sales and destinies, thanks to digital and direct relationships with customers — are bucking norms and setting out on a path to debut new collections on their own schedules.”

Wang will join the exodus of designers opting out of NYFW, including labels Proenza Schouler, Altuzarra, Thom Browne, Rag & Bone, Victoria Beckham (who will return to showcase in London) and Rodarte, which will undoubtedly effect on the city’s local industries.

Models walk the alleyway for Alexander Wang’s #WangFest in September 2017 – NYFW

The change, however, does not necessarily signal the death of #WangFest — the after party and press spectacle that took place in September 2017. Involving a brigade of models cascading off a bus and onto a runway in Brooklyn alongside high-profile celebs, musical artists, and infamous amounts of junk food, #WangFest was a perfect example of how designers are exploring new ways to converse with their customers and close the gap between the current regimented  formula, and the see now, buy now movement.

Early-adopter of the direct-to-consumer model designer Misha Nonoo has be known to host shows on social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat with her garments immediately available to purchase.

Though, as a consumer, this shift poses more pros than cons – as designers continue to move away from the age-old wholesale model to employ similar strategies, will their appetite to appeal directly to consumers before serving the industry make Fashion Week completely redundant?

And worse still, could this be the beginning of the end for street style?!

Words: Terri Dunn
Photos: Getty Images