Menswear has experienced a huge growth in the past couple years, especially in America, where the style-conscious guy always seemed to be lagging behind his European counterpart. Some may argue that we've caught up, but one hurdle has remained in the way of America's fashion capital of New York becoming truly on par with the likes of Paris and Milan.
New York's menswear shows have taken place during the same week as womenswear during New York Fashion Week. Invariably, the men's segment misses out on the spotlight that's mostly fixed on the women's shows and collections. Paris, Milan, and London each have separate weeks for the men's shows, which occur early in the summer. New York is rare in that both men's and women's shows occur in one short period of time. But that might change as soon as next July.
With the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s recent acquisition of the Fashion Calendar, there is strong interest for New York to have a separate men’s fashion week. Plenty of designers, buyers, and editors are supportive of the idea. It can bring American designers like Calvin Klein and Thom Browne, who have opted out of the usual September time slot for earlier months in Europe, back to show on their home turf.
It also makes more sense for buyers to attend the shows in July, since they won't be rushed to make orders for the coming season based on what they see at NYFW. “July is critical from a retailer’s point of view—any later than that and there’s no chance for new designers to get into the store,” explains Eric Jennings, vice president and men’s fashion director at Saks Fifth Avenue.
The main impediment that’s keeping this plan from moving forward is, predictably, money. “We need more funding for venue rentals. Travel for international editors, it takes marketing promotion, production costs and more. I feel like I’m halfway there, but I need to get a little bit more there,” says to Steven Kolb, chief executive officer of the CFDA. In the past 18 months, the council has been actively pursuing sponsorships to make this event happen. With so many in the industry behind this idea, it seems to be only a small matter of time before New York Men's Fashion Week gets the final push that's required to branch off on its own.