According to the Wall Street Journal, the guest list for New York Fashion Week just got much tighter. The publication is reporting that IMG Fashion, the company charged with running Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, plans to introduce "a number of changes addressing a growing array of designer complaints," namely cutting costs for designers and enabling more designers to show in the same spaces, as well as (and maybe most importantly) limiting the large of attendees “whose connections to fashion were tenuous at best.” A spokesman for IMG said the media guest list will be cut by 20%, as IMG enforces tighter accredidation procedures for attendees, likely an attempt to be more selective about what bloggers will be in attendance. In connection, the show and presentation spaces will be redesigned to accommodate smaller volumes of guests.
Catherine Bennett, the senior vice president and managing director at IMG Fashion Events and Properties spoke out about the growing popularity of NYFW, telling the WSJ: “It was becoming a zoo. What used to be a platform for established designers to debut their collections to select media and buyers has developed into a cluttered, often cost-prohibitive and exhausting period for our industry to effectively do business.”
As for just how effective this new initative will be at cutting out the unwanted riff raff, I am not entirely sure, especially considering the fact that an ever-growing number of designers no longer show in connection with Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, but in individual capacities or through Milk Studios, etc. and thus, likely will not be subject to these new rules. It seems that this is also a motivating factor behind IMG's new plan.
But don't rejoice just yet, my friends! I find it very, very difficult to believe that IMG's initiative will be all that effective. Aside from the fact that most shows are off-site, let us remember that many bloggers are die-hards. They wage war against each another for who can wear the most outrageous mini-dresses in February (sans jackets and tights) in at attempt to have their photos taken. In the same vein, they wear what any other circle of individuals (other than fashion folks) would refer to as costumes in the September heat. I highly doubt that they will be deterred by such new rules, but we will have to wait and see.
Don't get me wrong, it would be lovely to have a renewed focus on the fashion that is actually on the runway. However, another reason that change is not likely, is the fact that the street style show that wreaks the most havoc is largely driven by a select group of editors and bloggers that will not be affected by the new rules. You know them: the Russian Fashion Pack, a handful of professional U.S. bloggers and some international ones, the "street style stars" from major publications - all of which have realized the fame that comes from wearing over-the-top and/or sponsored outfits and having their photos taken. They are the ones that famed street style photogs lust after. They are the ones who will certainly still be in attendance no matter what the new rules entail. All in all, I don't think the circus is leaving town anytime soon, certainly not until London Fashion Week starts. Thoughts?