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A Makeover for Fashion Week? Designers Debate

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The tent at Bryant Park, just before Fashion Week last February
The tent at Bryant Park, just before Fashion Week last February

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Yesterday morning, in a meeting we would have given our left arm to witness, the Council of Fashion Designers of America met at FIT to discuss the dire state of the fashion industry. Specifically: Does Fashion Week still make sense? Not hardly, said council president Diane von Furstenberg. In this Age of Internet, showcasing clothing six months before it becomes seasonal only leads to preemptive knockoffs, early markdowns, and deeply confused consumers. Her proposed solution: We should all vote for Bloomberg.

Other designers had other ideas. Donna Karan, who's been touting the merits of showing clothing in season for ten years now, suggested reforming fashion's timeline so that fall styles corresponded with fall weather. Elie Tahari concurred, pointing out that he'd greatly improved his business over the past two months by shipping wear-now looks instead of pre-fall. Anna Wintour touted Fashion's Night Out, Vogue's plan to lure customers into stores for one magical evening this September. She also floated the idea of designers colluding on rules for when retailers could start discounting, causing DVF to gasp "That's illegal!" (Hilariously Wintourian response: "Is that something we can change? We have friends in the White House now!")

You should probably just read the New York Observer's account, because it's highly amusing—Betsey Johnson, bless her heart, brought up festooning the shows with pink and green Christmas lights. Clearly, the industry has a ways to go before hitting on any actual solutions, but at least this is a start...right?
· CFDA's Forum Debates the Fashion System [WWD, subscription req'd]
· At CFDA Town Meeting, Wintour Proposes Discount by Committee; DVF: 'That’s Illegal!' [NYO]