By Nathalie Barclay
Fashion Week in New York may be a bit colder than normal, but there’s no doubt that this year will host some of the world’s hottest talents and designers. If there’s anyone who knows about the ins and outs of Fashion Week and what makes it all possible, it’s Fern Mallis, who created NY fashion week and President of her company Fern Mallis LLC.
“I think it’s a great time to reinvent, and the consumer model of Fashion Week is a very seductive one.” Commenting on how Fashion Week has changed since its creation in 1993, Mallis seemed enthusiastic about the rapprochement of the designs and the audience over the years. “The time is right now to spend all that time and energy and money used for fashion shows on ends that will ultimately lead the audience to take their credit cards out and buy the clothes.”
She noted humorously that Fashion Week’s end goals are not the only things that have changed. “There were no digital cameras when we started!” she says while laughing. Recounting the arduous and slow-going process of the pre-digital era, she also recalls the anxiety that came with waiting for the newspaper reviews the next morning. “Now everyone in the audience is watching the show from a two-inch screen in their lap.” The old reviewers and critics have been replaced by Instragam photos and Tweets, shared and commented on live during the show.
How to prep for New York Fashion Week? Mallis gave us her Fashion Week for Dummies Survival Guide: lots of water, a large thermos of coffee, a phone charger (because let’s face it, it will die), endless amounts of almonds, and some comfortable shoes. “You won’t catch me running around in heels during fashion week!” And then perhaps most importantly, mints, eliminating the temptation of chewing gum. For Mallis, chewing gum during Fashion Week is her “absolute no-no.”
Excited about this year’s rising talents, she mentioned a few such as Brandon Maxwell who would be showing their designs at Pier59 Studios and CFDA darling, Public School. As Pier59’s Executive Advisor and Consultant, Mallis encourages people to come and discover these new stars’ collections. A beautiful location right on the water, it is surrounded by exceptional restaurants, Italian coffeeshops, juice stores (for when you really need a carrot ginger drink), and is the perfect venue for a fashion show in New York.