Designers commit to bringing New York Fashion Week back in a big way this fall

·4 min read
Designers commit to bringing New York Fashion Week back in a big way this fall
Models walk down a runway surrounded by spectators at a Marc Jacob fashion show.
A view of the runway finale at the Marc Jacobs Spring 2019 runway show at New York Fashion Week 2018. Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Marc Jacobs
  • New York Fashion Week will have in-person runway events in September.

  • Some designers who left New York Fashion Week in recent years before the pandemic are returning.

  • The runway shows will end with the star-studded Met Gala, which is themed around American fashion.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

New York Fashion Week is making a comeback this fall, with several fashion designers pledging to make a homecoming by debuting their collections in New York City.

The Council of Fashion Designers of America, or CFDA, announced in April that New York Fashion Week is set to be held in-person with runway shows running from September 8 through September 12.

Fashion Week will lead into the Met Gala on September 13, which, after being canceled due to the pandemic, is themed around American fashion. The first part of the gala will be in September, and the second half will be held in May 2022 - making a splash as the first two-part Met Gala since it started in 1948.

The semi-annual week of runway shows held in New York City is not only where designers showcase their looks for the next season - hoping to tell a story and capture the eyes of retail buyers - but in the past, it's also been known as a glamorous season that attracts celebrities and high-profile guests.

Christian Siriano New York Fashion Week NYFW 2020
Guests attend Christian Siriano's New York Fashion Week Febraury 2020 runway show. Crystal Cox/Business Insider

As Jessica Testa wrote for The New York Times, in recent years, some designers who were once household names at New York Fashion Week decided to stop showing their collections in New York, opting instead for Los Angeles or cities in Europe.

Now, in response to the pandemic's disruption of the fashion industry and the toll on small-business owners, artists, creatives - entrepreneurs who make up a large part of the fabric of New York City - many high-end designers are pledging to debut their collections exclusively at New York Fashion Week.

Designer Joseph Altuzarra, who runs his namesake fashion label Altuzarra, left New York Fashion Week four years ago to show his designs at Paris Fashion Week in the city where he was born. He told The New York Times that while in New York City during the pandemic.

"I felt a really strong kinship with the city that I hadn't felt as deeply in a long time. I missed the energy," Altuzarra said.

Designer Tom Ford, who's also a chairman of the CFDA, said on May 10 that he will be showing a collection in New York, too.

Ford wrote that the upcoming fashion week will be an "opportunity to reaffirm the resilience and independence of American fashion and New York City as a global fashion force."

Altuzarra and Ford are among several designers who have committed to showing their collections at the in-person New York Fashion Week runway shows, joining Brandon Maxwell, Moschino, Thom Browne, Pyer Moss, Peter Dundas, Jason Wu, LaQuan Smith, Markarian, Monse, Sergio Hudson, Telfar, Prabal Gurung, and Proenza Schouler, according to The New York Times.

Met Gala
Celebrities at past Met Galas. The Met Gala will be a grand finale for this year's New York Fashion Week in September. Getty Images

Many designers still debuted their collections virtually in fall 2020 and this winter without audiences.

Some designers attempted to create pandemic-friendly setups. In September 2020, designer Christian Siriano held a runway show in the backyard of his Connecticut home with guests spaced out around the lawn. Likewise, one Chanel fashion show in December 2020 had just one spectator: Kristin Stewart, who was seen sitting solo in a video of the event.

The onset of the pandemic in the US also led a number of designers to shift their focus from their next collections to instead use excess materials to make face masks and PPE for hospital workers.

Altuzarra told The New York Times that he felt that even with an array of alternatives to the traditional runway, there was not a "compelling substitute for a show."

The CFDA's CEO Steven Kolb said in a statement that the near future of fashion week will be a mix of in-person and virtual events.

"With current signs of progress in the pace of vaccinations and the strategic, gradual reopening and tangible reawakening of New York City, we look forward to a strong fashion season that celebrates the best of American fashion in both physical and digital presentation formats," Kolb said.

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