For the past four years, Fashion’s Night Out has graced the streets of New York City. The yearly festivity – with its free drinks, celebrity interactions, and designer freebies – aimed to boost the 2009 recession by advocating shopping among consumers eager to take part in this nationwide celebration.
“New York City’s fashion and retail industry is a vital part of our local economy,” said Mayor Bloomberg back in a 2009 press release about the launch. “Fashion’s Night Out will provide our local retailers with a boost.”
After just a four year streak, the sponsors of the event – Vogue, the Council of Fashion Designers of American and NYC & Co. – have decided to put the event on hold.
The reason seems to be so that designers and retailers can concentrate their budget on projects that are more relevant with each individual company’s goals, rather than a free-for-all one night event. For the designers who were simultaneously spending big bucks on putting on a fashion show, FNO often did more damage than good in terms of finance.
While the initial aim of the event was to kickstart the U.S. economy, it turned out that FNO might not have been as financially successful as it had intended to be. It’s debatable whether participators were actually shopping or simply enjoying the many free entertainment intended to draw in a crowd.
Despite its discontinuation in the United States, the event will still be organized by individual Vogue editions and Condé Nast International in various territories around the world. For some countries, such as Ukraine and Thailand, this year will be the first that this event is being held.
“We’ll have 19 countries participating in Fashion’s Night Out in 2013, with dates and cities to be announced in the near future,” said Condé Nast International spokeswoman, Nicky Eaton.
When asked why the decision was made to keep this much loved fashion tradition going overseas, Eaton said, “Condé Nast International is continuing FNO as a step in supporting the Vogue advertising partners, celebrating fashion and the industry.”
Perhaps the sponsors of the event do not feel that the U.S. is no longer in need of this support and that the attention should be directed elsewhere.
“We would always return to what was our original mission and purpose and that was to reinvigorate the shopping experience and the consumers’ engagement in stores,” said CFDA’s chief executive, Steve Kolb, in an interview with Women’s Wear Daily, “After this last one, we felt we had really created this renewed presence at retail that really brought added value and a fun experience back to shopping.”
However, many disagree. Some believe that the decision to cancel FNO this year reflects the direction that the New York City fashion scene is headed in. “More and more we see [other] cities being viewed as the central hubs of fashion instead of New York,” said CAS sophomore Sabrina Palacios, “Now, with FNO skipping the city this year maybe the speculation that NYC is no longer the fashion capital of the world is right.”
In the past four years, FNO raised more than $1 million for NYC Aids Fund. While the tradition did not turn out to be an everlasting one, it did leave its mark by impacting shoppers, retailers, and the American fashion world in its entirety.
Marina Zheng is a staff writer. Email her at [email protected]