With the American menswear market absolutely exploding over the last five years, it’s getting both designers and industry types scratching their heads as to whether New York should show a little patriotism and host its own menswear Fashion Week.
WWD explored the matter, explaining that the common reasoning in favor of a New York–based week, separate from the women's schedule, involves the time lapse between Europe's spring men's shows in late June and the Americans showing both men's and women's in September, which makes it difficult for menswear designers that stayed back home to make the deadline for European sales.
“What ends up happening is selling shuts down in August, then we show, and a lot of accounts come back and want to add things that came down the runway, and it’s actually too late,” explains Michael Bastian, who shows Stateside, but also has production in Italy, which makes things a bit easier. “So we do pay a price.”
At the same time, Bastian, a former fashion director at Bergdorf Goodman, says he’s staying put, headache or not.
“I feel New York is the right context for what I’m doing. I’m resolute that I will stay here. Whatever effect it has on my business, I accept,” he says. “I think it’s important to stand up and be part of New York. What I’m doing should be seen in the context of others with this American point of view. It would be weird to show between Dolce & Gabbana and Roberto Cavalli— that ’s another planet.”
That “planet,” however, is one that many American designers are willing to inhabit, including Adam Kimmel, who shows in Paris, John Varvatos, who has shown in Milan for three seasons, Marc Jacobs, who is rumored to start showing a menswear collection in Milan, and Thom Browne, who shows his two collections for Moncler in Italy and will move his namesake show to Paris this June.
“Again, unless there’s a real demand for it, it would be a difficult thing to build, because you wouldn’t be guaranteed the right designers would participate,” Steven Kolb, the executive director of the CFDA, explains to WWD. “How would you layer marquee names with the emerging designers so it’s fully representative? That’s been the challenge.”
Although, we think, a challenge worth fighting. While the majority of American menswear designers still show in New York (over 50 showed this past fashion week, including biggies like Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein), the news of major tastemakers in the men's market like Marc Jacobs and Thom Browne fleeing for Europe is a little troubling.
And with the depth of talent working so hard to put the U.S. on the map — think Robert Gellar, Patrik Ervell, Richard Chai, Band of Outsiders, Shipley & Halmos, Victor Glemaud, etc. — it's only right to reward them with something they can call their own.
So, what do you think: Does a New York Men's Fashion Week make sense?