One of the biggest criticisms of New York Fashion Week: Men’s is that it doesn’t pack enough designer star power to register as a significant industry event. And now, with Public School’s latest decision to combine its men’s and women’s collections into one show, it looks like attracting big talent will continue to be an issue.
Public School was one of the hottest NYFWM tickets and arguably the most notable name attached to the fledgling biannual week. The vast majority of time slots are dedicated to up and coming talent. Though the collections churned out are worthy of attention and coverage, the first two installments of NYFWM have gone largely uncovered due to the lack of top tier designers.
Public School joins a growing list of labels (Burberry, Vetements, Tom Ford, and Gucci) in offering a unified collection. The design house will show twice a year in alignment with the pre-collection calendar. These collections will land in December and June. The next NYFWM is scheduled to land in July.
With Public School bowing out of NYFWM after only two seasons of participation, what does this mean for the men’s only week? At a time when brands are desperately trying to figure out how to get product from the runway to consumers’ hands faster than ever before, it means that brands are less concerned with men’s exclusivity and more concerned with turning profit. If showing during NYFWM means that a brand won’t be in sync with buying periods or the week doesn’t properly align with their ever-changing production cycles, it’s clear where corners will be cut.
I’m sure that other notable designers have paid attention to Public School’s move. It surely won’t convince anyone to join the party. And it’s a shame. Because men’s fashion is experiencing such an exciting time right now. We need our own week to ensure everyone has a voice. But without the support of the big names, relevance and viability will continue to be called into question.
While a men’s only week in New York was a proper acknowledgment of men’s fashion’s impact on the industry as a whole, it may end up being the victim of poor timing. Only time will tell, but fingers crossed, things continue to go off without a hitch.