Young Brands Dominate NYFW Amid COVID-19

    Despite the COVID-19 outbreak and some high-profile departures, New York Fashion Week hasn’t lost its allure, at least not for emerging designers.
    As a host of established brands skip New York Fashion Week Spring-Summer 2021, young brands have filled the void. Photo: Shutterstock
    Yaling JiangAuthor
      Published   in Fashion

    What happened

    As the organizer of New York Fashion Week (September 13 to 17), the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) recently released its official schedule, which will be a mix of physical events and digital activations.

    The Spring '21 collections will be shown following Phase 4 of New York State’s reopening plan. All events will be held in strict compliance with the state’s coronavirus regulations, meaning that all indoor and outdoor exhibitions will be limited to 50-percent capacity. Taiwanese-Canadian fashion designer Jason Wu will be one of the few brands planning to do a physical runway.

    Meanwhile, labels that were featured in the spring show, such as Longchamp, Proenza Schouler, Oscar De La Renta, Cynthia Rowley, Prabal Gurung, and Michael Kors, aren’t on the official schedule this season. Yet emerging brands from Chinese designers and from designers of Chinese descent like Snow Xue Gao, Private Policy, Chocheng, Ka Wa Key, Victor Li, Claudia Li, Sandy Liang, and Kim Shui have confirmed that they’re taking part in the digital activations. Many of them have participated in NYFW before, but not on the official schedule.

    Jing Take:#

    New York Fashion Week hasn’t lost its allure, at least not for emerging designers. Questions about whether NYFW was still in vogue were rampant even before the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, it has become an increasingly heated topic since Virgil Abloh ditched NYFW for Paris, the CFDA president Tom Ford took his runway to Los Angeles, and local icon Marc Jacobs decided not to do runways at all this year.

    But NYFW isn't the only fair shifting its lens toward emerging fashion talents. This Monday, Paris Fashion Week also announced the addition of ten new labels for its upcoming season.

    Big labels with COVID-19-related cash-flow problems have had to reconsider their return on investment for pricey fashion weeks, and many are reportedly waiting until October to make future runway plans. Fortunately, young brands still see NYFW as a not-to-be-missed opportunity. But despite its careful planning for this event, CFDA should have put its industry muscle behind supporting more international designers of color as a way to remain socially relevant.

    The Jing Take reports on a piece of the leading news and presents our editorial team’s analysis of the key implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product drops and mergers to heated debate sprouting on Chinese social media.

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