Mark Badgley and James Mischka, designers behind the Badgley Mischka brand, have decided to film a 10-12 minute movie that will launch online when their Fall/Winter collection goes on sale this July instead of showing their collection during New York Fashion Week.
Choosing to break the cycle of showing collections to potential buyers and the media well in advance, especially in the form of a film, seems daring when considered from a historical point of view. The way Fashion Week has operated over time has been uniform, with designers showing Fall/Winter collections in February and March, while Spring/Summer collections premiere in September and October. This allows time for retailers to possibly include the designs on ready-to-wear collections targeting wider audiences.
At the same time, the wide time window allows fashion publications to display the collections in their issues, a practice that has greatly affected fashion trends’ evolution and has served as a predictor of sales. From this perspective, Badgley and Mischka would risk having their work overlooked and as a result, their success would diminish.
On the other hand, another factor is worth considering. The internet’s mass impact on fashion and the way trends reach the audience indicates that choosing to approach the wider audience directly is smart. Many other labels have shifted their focus towards consumers and opened the dialogue to more consumer-oriented Fashion Weeks, realizing that they have to keep up in a fast-paced world.
While some believe drastic change will take away from the artistry that goes into the collections, an overwhelming majority is open to new ideas, and alternative methods are already emerging. Short films to showcase collections and retail collaborations help bring the products closer to the audience and allow customers to get their desired product the moment they want it. Badgley Mischka recognized the advantages to this, stating: “We wanted to do something more directly impacting our consumers.” An approach as the one Badgley Mischka chose to start in their newest collection allow a college student and Anna Wintour, arguably the biggest name in fashion, to see the product at somewhat the same time. This is important since Wintour, although an important critic, is not exactly designers’ target audience.
Other designers claim not having a physical show takes away from the intimacy between the hardworking people behind the scenes and the attendees. However, the intimacy only truly disappears between designers themselves and the small number of people who actually receive invitations. The wider audiences that most designers now strive to reach are not the ones sitting front row at their shows, and there is a clear incentive to change that. A movie replacing a fashion show, which most would only be able to view online anyway, seems like a good start. The larger audience would get access to the product in the same way, except it would be shown in a much more indulging way, inevitably helping brands financially. After all, fashion is a business.
Aurela Berila is a contributing writer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.