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What’s the Point of Fashion Shows Anymore? The CFDA Wants to Know

The fashion show as we know it is changing. Formerly an exclusive scene of industry insiders – including editors, buyers, and press – the fashion show in the age of social media is now a celebrity-studded spectacle, perhaps more concerned with likes on Instagram than with actual commerce.

It begs the question: What is the role of the fashion show today? That is what the CFDA is asking as a part of a new study it has commissioned in partnership with the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) to help better define the future of the fashion show.

The study will take an in-depth look at the fashion show today with the aim of fixing what many industry experts consider a broken system that confuses consumers – from collections that are hyped on social media months before the clothes actually hit retail to deliveries that aren’t in season (something that Donna Karan has been vocal about for years).

Different designers have tried different ways to address the issue. Tom Ford’s early collections for his eponymous brand came with a strict embargo on coverage, as did the pre-fall collection Proenza Schouler’s Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez showed earlier this month. Meanwhile, Jeremy Scott has been making looks from his Moschino shows immediately available in the Italian brand’s stores after the show. And on Monday, Rebecca Minkoff announced that her show at New York Fashion Week: Women’s in February would feature spring clothes that are in season and available for purchase.

The Boston Consulting Group study is expected to explore a possible move to more intimate presentations to trade, and larger production shows that are consumer-facing and more closely aligned with retail deliveries.

“Designers, retailers and editors have been questioning the relevance of fashion week in its current format for some time,” said Steven Kolb, CFDA President and CEO. “Out of this industry need came our decision to hire Boston Consulting Group to create an in-depth analysis and roadmap for the future of fashion shows.”