For the second season in a row, New York menswear designers will get their own day on the eve of New York Fashion Week. This season, ten brands, Antonio Azzuolo, Bespoken, Carlos Campos (see a look from his F/W 2013 collection below), Lucio Castro, Stephen F, Gents, David Hart, J. Lindeberg, Original Penguin and Marlon Gobel, will show their Spring/Summer 2015 collections on September 3rd. This comes as a much needed initiative for New York-based menswear designers, who unlike their London, Milan and Paris counterparts do not have mens-specific weeks (or even a few days). As of 2012, London Collections: Men stages both Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter runway shows and presentations every year, followed by the Milan and Paris men's shows. In fact, the Spring/Summer 2015 menswear shows just wrapped last month. With the exception of the relatively few New York-based designers who packed up and showed small presentations in Paris during this time, U.S. designers will have to wait until September to show their S/S 2015 collections, and this is actually quite detrimental to their businesses.
The staging of a New York Men's Week (or several days) each January and June would be worthwhile for several reasons, but maybe most importantly, New York-based designers are at a substantial disadvantage in terms of buying. The purpose of fashion week is, or at least was, to show collections to buyers and to have those collections stocked by major retailers. From what we’ve gathered by talking to an array of NYC-based menswear brands, they face serious obstacles in comparison to their European counterparts because by the time buyers see their collections (in September and February), the majority of the stockists’ menswear budgets have already been allocated.
Thus, the New York Men's Day (NYMD), which is being pioneered by Agentry PR's Erin Hawker and which is in its second season as of this September, is an important step forward. Hawker says the mens-specific day is meant to "bring a new lens to the American menswear market." She further held, "Based on the success of last season's showcase, we are thrilled to expand NYMD for September. The centralized showcase creates ease for the editorial and buying teams, but also supports emerging design talent."
A show date in September does not really help New York-based brands in terms of competing with their international counterparts for buyers' budgets, but I think it is a significant step forward. I was hoping the Council of Fashion Designers of America, which has been promoting menswear talent quite a bit over the past several seasons, would step up and organize a men's week in line with the international schedule but that is yet to be seen. In the mean time, stay tuned for more news about the upcoming New York Mens Day …