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America’s Fashion’s Night Out Epidemic Finally Over

Photo: Gary Gershoff/2011 Getty Images

The Vogue, CFDA, and NYC & Co.–sponsored shopping event (not to be confused with a sale) is going “on hiatus in the United States in 2013, in order to enable retailers to channel their resources towards strategies more in keeping with their current priorities,” according to a statement on Fashion’s Night Out’s website. The “big party” or “street festival,” as WWD refers to it (still not a sale) started in 2009, and expanded from pockets of activity in New York to 4,500 happenings in 500 cities across the country last September. From the trade:

[Steven] Kolb [CEO of the CFDA] explained that after every FNO, they always paused and reflected on the past year, and made a collective decision whether to continue. “You look at the event from many different angles, and we would always return to what was our original mission and purpose and that was to reinvigorate the shopping experience and the consumers’ engagement in stores. After this last one, we felt we had really created this renewed presence at retail that really brought added value and a fun experience back to shopping,” said Kolb.

He described FNO as some sort of sea beast (“It has a lot of tentacles”), and WWD mentioned he and his fellow organizers might have fielded complaints from designers prepping for shows during the shopping event or finding they needed to put in more “resources” each year. Speaking of, did Fashion’s Night Out make any money? Kolb told WWD, “I don’t think the success of it was measured only by numbers or money, but was really about engagement,” so that’s probably a no. But, to be fair, it raised over $1.5 million for the New York City AIDS Fund in the New York Community Trust. FNO “couldn’t have possibly done it without you.”

And we couldn’t have possibly done it without Anna Wintour. After all, FNO was her baby — a banner on the September 2009 cover of Vogue reading, “Fashion Night’s Out: A Global Shopping Spree (And You’re Invited),” trumpeted its arrival. But, instead of a global shopping spree, it was bridge-and-tunnelers wandering midtown looking for markdowns, of which there were none (no sales!). Anna tried to up the ante with each iteration, hosting Fashion’s Night Out: The Show in 2010, enlisting celebrities to endorse the cause, and releasing better merch; however, shoppers didn’t come and spend — there are plenty of retailers and PR folks breathing sighs of relief today. A rare misstep, yet Anna Wintour: not too big to fail.

Anyway, all is not lost! Nineteen countries still plan to hold Fashion’s Night Out in 2013 — until they hear about this.

America’s Fashion’s Night Out Epidemic Over