CFDA Reexamines Role of Fashion Show with Boston Consulting Group


What is the role of the fashion show today?

That question is at the top of most industry minds. Is it, as it traditionally was, a way for designers to show clothes to retailers and editors who plan their buys and editorial spreads months ahead? Or has it, in the age of social media and the show spectacle, became a form of entertainment measured by instant “likes” over actual business results?

In either case, the message is muddled, and many say that this is hurting business more than helping it.

To that end, the CFDA has decided to retain Boston Consulting Group (BCG)  to conduct an extensive study to define the future of fashion shows.

The study will take an in-depth look at the fashion show today with the aim of fixing what many industry experts consider a broken system that confuses consumers  — from collections that are hyped on social media months before the clothes actually hit retail to deliveries that aren’t in season (something that Donna Karan has been vocal about for years).

Different designers have tried different ways to address the issue. Tom Ford’s early collections for his eponymous brand came with a strict embargo on coverage, as did the prefall collection Proenza Schouler’s Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez showed earlier this month. Meanwhile, Jeremy Scott has been making looks from his Moschino shows immediately available in the Italian brand’s stores  after the show. And on Monday, Rebecca Minkoff announced that her show at New York Fashion Week: Women’s in February would feature spring clothes that are in season and available for purchase.

The Boston Consulting Group study is expected to explore a possible move to more intimate presentations to trade, and larger production shows that are consumer-facing and more closely aligned with retail deliveries.

“Designers, retailers and editors have been questioning the relevance of fashion week in its current format for some time,” said Steven Kolb, President and CEO of the CFDA. “Out of this industry need came our decision to hire Boston Consulting Group to create an in-depth analysis and roadmap for the future of fashion shows.”


— Marc Karimzadeh