Industry insiders said there's still work to be done to make the event more business-friendly, especially when it comes to reeling in the overbooked and all-about-town schedule.
"There are so many designers to cover, whether they are hosting fashion shows, presentations or simply holding market visits, so a chaotic schedule continues to be synonymous with NYFW," said Suzanne Timmins, senior vice president and fashion director for Hudson's Bay Co., which owns Lord & Taylor.
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Colleen Sherin, senior fashion director at Saks Fifth Avenue, which was recently acquired by Hudson's Bay, said the disorder at fashion center hub Lincoln Center had been escalating over the past few years, and that last season it reached a "boiling point."
She attributed this to a growing interest in the industry—stemming from the advent of reality TV shows and social media—and the fact that there are too many shows.
But it's not just Lincoln Center that has added to the chaos. As was the case last season, a number of major designers are showing their collections offsite, ranging from Diane von Furstenberg—who will debut her collection in Tribeca—to Tommy Hilfiger, who chose an Upper East Side venue.
And that's just the shows that are directly tied to the official fashion week calendar. More than 25 brands are showing at Milk Studios' Made Fashion Week in Chelsea, and fashion-industry favorite Alexander Wang will send buyers all the way to Brooklyn. The calendar could be all-the-more perilous in face of forecasts for snow on three of the event's eight days.
Paired with the fact that the New York calendar boasts far more names than its European counterparts—a day in New York can demand buyers' attention at more than 30 shows, while Milan and Paris average closer to a dozen per day—this year isn't promising to be much smoother than last season, Sherin said.
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"When I look at my schedule, it's just as jam-packed as it has been in previous seasons," she said. Sherin attends about 12 shows a day during New York Fashion Week, resulting in about one show every hour, on the hour, from 8 or 9 in the morning until 9 or 10 at night. Then, it's time for London, Milan and Paris.
"Realistically, you cannot be everywhere—you do have to pick and choose appropriately," said Tom Julian, director of strategic business development for The Doneger Group trend forecasting agency.