Backstage at NYFW - photo by Eric Vitale

NYFW History: The Evolution of Fashion Week

In Fashion Week, marketingby Erica Yanus

Fashion Week happens several times per year in NYC, but how much NYFW history do you know? This exciting time of year is upon us, so let’s look back at how the iconic event began and has changed over time. Here’s a look back at NYFW history throughout the ages. 

1940s-1980s: Early NYFW History

The first NYFW-type event took place in 1943. It was created by the press director of the New York Dress Institute, Eleanor Lambert. During this time, Parisian fashion was all the rage. American publications would highlight french designs, despite the fact that the styles were not available to the American consumers. Fashion week, known during this time as “Press Week” was created to showcase American designers for fashion journalists. Due to WWII, fashion insiders were unable to travel to Paris to view shows. Press Week also allowed them to view shows. By the mid-1950s, the event was known as “Press Week of New York”. Throughout the next 40 years, other countries began making their own fashion weeks and Press Week of New York was not held every year like it is today. 

Backstage at NYFW History in the making. Photo by Julie Images

1990s: The Dawn of NYFW

In 1993, Fern Mallis, the executive director of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) combined all the city’s events to be known as “New York Fashion Week.” It was branded as “7th on Sixth.” These shows took place in white tents in Bryant Park. 

2000s: NYFW in the 21st Century

NYFW went through a multitude of changes during the 21st century. Every few years, the name, sponsors and location of the event would change. In 2001, “7th on Sixth” was sold to IMG. In 2004, Olympus become a sponsor and the event was renamed “Olympus Fashion Week.” In 2007, Mercedes-Benz became the top sponsor and called the event  “MB Fashion Week New York.”

NYFW History in the making at Jarel Zhang NYFW 2018. Eric Vitale Photography

2010s: A Change of Scenery

In 2010, the venue changed from Bryant Park tents to the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. In 2013, IMG and its events (including fashion week) were sold to WME. In 2015, Mercedes-Benz announced its departure as title sponsor to the events. Following the loss of both Bryant Park and Lincoln Center as hosting sites for New York Fashion Week, the event is no longer held in one central location. Locations for shows have varied to places like railway terminals and waterfront carnivals. One was even held in an old post office!


Experience SS20 Before it Becomes NYFW History

I can’t wait to see how NYFW changes again this year. Check out the official show schedule and don’t forget to sign up for Fashion Mingle’s Networking Party. We’ll see you there!


About Erica Yanus

Erica is a Marketing major at LIM College. When she isn’t at one of her jobs or in class, you can find her exploring New York City, taking photographs or tracking down the best food places.

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