New York City Retailers, Bloomberg Team Up to Announce “Fashion’s Night Out “

May 21, 2009 • Shopping

New York Mayor Bloomberg with NYC & Co. CEO George Fertitta, CFDA Executive Director Stephen Kolb, and Vogue Editor in Chief Anna Wintour

The city of New York announced Wednesday it's plans to spearhead a new initiative that will assist both it's retailers and consumers during these troubling economic times. Using one of it's most glamorous annual affairs as a springboard, the city has chosen to make the first night of New York Fashion Week 2009 as a special event called "Fashion's Night Out." This special night, which is scheduled for September 10, 2009, will include participation from over 100 retailers in all five boroughs and feature a variety of in-store treats such as parties, prizes, personal appearances by designers and celebrities, live music, fashion shows, charity giveaways, and goodie bags-all during extended shopping hours as stores will stay open until 11 p.m. No this is not a dream but perhaps a project that is long overdue.

New York's Mayor Bloomberg seemed to agree as he entered City Hall's Blue Room yesterday accompanied by a veritable who's who of the New York fashion world including Vera Wang, Tory Burch, Tommy Hilfiger, Carolina Herrera, Rachel Roy, Zac Posen, and Nicole Miller among many others. Also present at the press conference were "Fashion's Night Out" sponsors NYC & Company CEO George Fertitta, Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour and Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) Executive Director Steven Kolb. The high profile guests were there to assist the mayor in unveiling the initiative and to explain the reasoning behind it-to provide economic activity throughout the city, support local retailers and charities, and provide consumers an incentive to shop with more creative devices than the stale technique of discounting. In short, to make shopping fun again.

And though it appears that shoppers of the event will be the main beneficiaries, the perks extend even farther. Even as a global hub of fashion-related activity, New York has seen it's fair share of struggles during the economic crisis. Staggering lay offs have occurred throughout the city in the retail and design industries and storefronts have been empty for months along legendary shopping strips like 5 Avenue and Broadway. The market has become competitive to designers due to the increasingly limited demand. "Fashion's Night Out" will serve as a both collaborative effort for those retailers and as a means to sustain the employment of an industry that makes up a huge part of the New York City name.

"New York City’s fashion and retail industry is a vital part of our local economy, supporting more than 175,000 jobs as seamstresses, sales clerks, delivery drivers and other occupations in apparel design, garment manufacturing, retailing, and other areas,” said Mayor Bloomberg.“Fashion’s Night Out will provide our local retailers with a boost and will serve as a terrific kick-off for fall Fashion Week." Event sponsor Anna Wintour agreed with the mayor's sentiments telling WWD,"The City is home to some of the world’s most celebrated and diverse designers, and renowned for its vast array of retailers from legendary department stores to the most charming independent boutiques. Fashion’s Night Out is about protecting this creativity and diversity, reenergizing New York’s fashion and retail community and getting consumers excited about shopping for fall.”

Wintour also tipped off the press that "Fashion's Night Out" is in the works of becoming an international program, touching all cities where her magazine Vogue has editions. This would include various cities in Britain, France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Japan, China, Taiwan, Russia, Brazil, and India, each country catering the event to it's own culture and market. Editor of British Vogue Alexandra Shulman is particularly excited about the initiative, saying "This worldwide activity is to remind us all that fashion is to be enjoyed and to mark the contribution that the shopping environment makes to all our lives.”

Back in New York, designers and retailers are enjoying coming up with unique ways that they will feature their wares. Bergdorf Goodman has already begun signing designers and celebrities to stop by, Philip Lim is scheduling a live band in his space, Rachel Roy is having a t-shirt design contest and will have a local graffiti artist tag in her store, and Barney's will be offering a variety of services such as knitting instruction. So far the plans are all innovative and fun, giving the designers a chance to project a bit of their personality into their line without having to worry so much about the sales. Vera Wang seemed to sum up the philosophy behind the experience best by saying, "It was never a numerical thing. It is very much about stimulating women and men of all generations to shop. We’re working to make them feel good about shopping and how it can be pleasurable, creative. We want people to have some fun. This doesn’t mean everyone has to go out and blow their whole week’s pay.” And we can all appreciate that.

Stay tuned for more details on "Fashion's Night Out" as we find them out!

Article Source: WWD, CFDA
Photo Source: WWD

-Alia Rajput

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