It’s going to be a tight New York Fashion Week this September. Earlier this summer, the CFDA announced that it would be shortening the official calendar, with shows running for just six days, from September 6 to 11. In light of the new time constraints, which leave little room for emerging designers to have a spot on the CFDA calendar, three labels are trying a different approach to the typical runway format. Vaquera, CDLM/Creatures of The Wind, and Section 8 have decided to stage a triple-feature show on Monday, September 9 at 9 p.m. The labels will show in succession, with different music to accompany each collection. The CDLM/Creatures of The Wind lineup will be styled by Vogue’s Alex Harrington, while Emma Wyman will style Vaquera. The idea to show all together in one time slot happened organically for these designers, who are all friends, but it also seemed like a practical solution to the financial demands of a runway show for an independent brand.
As the designers of Vaquera explain, “putting on a show is expensive. As emerging brands, it’s not easy to keep up with established brands who have so many resources and access to funding.” They add, “It feels like there is no middle ground between established brands and young designers, especially in New York. We are currently working to secure funding for the show and we feel that presenting as one will help us secure sponsorship.” Shane Gabier from CDLM/Creatures of The Wind agrees that this new format could be helpful to brands from a financial perspective, and also represents a more progressive way to think about the traditional runway show format at a time when schedules are changing, seasons are blending or disappearing altogether, and designers are departing New York for Paris. “We’re open to seeing what this could turn into,” Gabier says. “We’re already all friends, so it makes perfect sense in that way, and we’re all excited to rethink what has historically been a pretty straightforward system. It feels wide open for new ways of thinking at this moment, so we’re taking advantage of that.”
Collaboration has been a buzzword in the fashion industry for the last decade or so, but combining fashion shows gives an impactful new meaning to an overused word. As Vaquera notes, “the fashion industry is notorious for pinning peers against each other and negative competition is not something that interests any of us.” They continue, “We all support each other’s work and have enough confidence in our own lines to know that our individual voices will be heard, even in a group context.” As Section 8 designer Akeem Smith points out, “all of us are sticking to our DNA. But the irony that a duo, a trio, and an ever changing-tuplet are showing as one seemed kind of quirky, too.” Whether or not other brands will follow suit and begin teaming up on a double or triple or quadruple show format is still to be seen. But it could be a great answer, both monetarily and in terms of exposure, for the U.S. market’s many indie labels and upstarts. Plus, as Gabier points out, “there’s a strength in showing together and it feels like the moment to really focus on the community around oneself. And really, it’s been a lot of fun to bring all of this energy together.”
Originally Appeared on Vogue