Online shows, smaller audiences: Covid restrictions give NYFW new look

Highlights this season include Jason Wu, Rebecca Minkoff and Christian Siriano

11 September 2020 - 09:16 By Alicia Powell
Models on the runway during the New York Fashion Week. The fashion week will look a little different this season due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Models on the runway during the New York Fashion Week. The fashion week will look a little different this season due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Image: Idris Solomon/Reuters

New York Fashion Week will look a little different this season, with the typical seven-day parade of events stripped down to five days because of Covid-19 restrictions, with online runway shows, and smaller, socially distanced audiences.

Host IMG said it had worked closely with the governor's office to understand the protocols needed to have the shows running from September 13-17.

“We evolved the event and our offerings to designers to be able to create an event that's both safe and successful ... and that allows consumers to tune in to watch and participate,” said global senior vice-president of marketing and brand strategy at IMG, April Guidone.

Highlights this season include Jason Wu, Rebecca Minkoff and Christian Siriano, who will show from his Connecticut home. Partnering with US hardware store Lowes, each designer will create sets “with home décor products they found at Lowes.”

Spring Studios, the normal home of New York Fashion Week, is also adapting.

“We are offering the rooftop at Spring (Studios) to designers for more traditional runway shows that may have a very small and Ltd, socially distant audience,” said Guidone.

Designers will use the indoor venues that previously hosted large runway shows to debut their collections in new ways, such as by creating films or content for social media. “And then we'll release that content on schedule as if it's live,” Guidone said.

The content, along with panels and special events, will be broadcasted on NYFW. The Council of Fashion Designers of America has also created a new digital platform, Runway360, to air various runway shows.

Brooklyn-based model Anok Yai has been working in London since March and described the few shows she has done during the pandemic as “very strange.”

“Everything obviously is very spaced out,” said Yai, noting that in the past 100 people would be in one room doing hair and make-up, but now it is less than a dozen.

Reuters