You know times are rough when people start considering the possibility of selling tickets to Fashion Week — as in, for normal people. WWD asked designers back in February if they’d consider doing this to make money and heighten publicity, since the paper’s informal poll of 105 women on New York streets revealed they’d pay, on average, $160 per seat. Which is pretty ridiculous if you ask us, since fashion shows only last ten minutes. Anyway, designers like Diane Von Furstenberg and Michael Kors said this was a terrible idea, since their customers would be confused by seeing clothes they wouldn’t be able to buy for six months. (Because it’s not as though they won’t see them in fashion magazines eons before they’d buy them.) We don’t think that’s the only reason designers wouldn’t want normal people at their shows. Fashion Week, among its many purposes, is a masturbatory exercise for the editors, buyers, society people, celebrities, and others in the industry who attend to feel exclusive, important, and on the inside of a very special, very elusive (but not really) world. We don’t presume to be immune to this allure and wouldn’t dream of denying, say, the warm fuzzies we felt when we sat right behind Kanye West’s baby mullet at the fall 2009 shows. Designers are charged with preserving the sanctity of this “in”-ness.
But all of that could be in danger. Because starting in September, a new group billing itself as the New York Fashion Week Organization plans to sell tickets to fashion shows staged at Madison Square Garden’s theater venue. Proceeds from the ticket sales will benefit the Garden of Dreams charity that helps children in crisis. So anyone who can pay the ticket price — which has not yet been set — can go see a fashion show. In Madison Square Garden. How glam! The organization is not affiliated with IMG, which puts on the real Fashion Week that normal people aren’t able to attend. They are currently soliciting young designers to participate in the shows (if you’re interested, send a portfolio and tear sheets to NYFW at MSG, 2 Penn Plaza, Suite 1500). According to a press release about the project, “participation fees are kept to an absolute minimum.” So you’ll have to pay to partake, but hey! No one said charity was recession friendly.
So who knows who will wind up showing at this thing. We’re having a hard time imagining some of our favorite young designers — Ohne Titel, Cushnie et Ochs, Julian Louie — signing on to present in the same venue as the circus. But we could be wrong.
GAME FACE [WWD]