Do Fashion Shows Still Matter In 2018?


We poll editors to see what they think

Here's some insider information not many people know: A lot of fashion week is spent just… waiting around. You wait to sign in to a show, you wait to enter, you wait for the show to actually start (which rarely—if ever—happens on time). The runway show itself is 10 to 15 minutes. Then, you wait again as everyone tries to squeeze out of the same exit once it's over. This has long been the case, but in 2018, when a lot of shows are live-streamed and even more are posted on social media in real time, the value of physically attending fashion shows has started to dwindle—especially for industry insiders.

Has what used to be an opportunity to view collections before the general public, simply turned into something decidedly less exclusive—a photo opportunity for influencers and aspiring street style stars? Are fashion shows even relevant today? We posed the latter question to editors, and while the short answer is yes, we learned that their purpose has shifted—and differs from person to person. So, ahead, see what editors look for in a show these days, how the changing times have made them more selective about who gets their attention, and how Instagram (and the influencers that come along with it) has changed everything.

Lauren Caruso, editorial director for Bandier
“It's all a bit of a circus, but the days where fashion editors dictate the trends are coming to a sharp end. Buyers and editors, instead, use re-sees to decide what they're going to invest in, and that one-on-one time is more valuable to the relationship than going to the show, which is more of a sign of support than market research. Of course, nobody's contending that big features in high-profile publications mean nothing, but people didn't buy Gucci because a magazine told them to; they bought it because a swarm of Instagrammers wore the same t-shirt within days of each other—while attending Fashion Week. Designers are under pressure not just to create a collection that's acclaimed from a technical standpoint, but from an Instagram standpoint. Most top-tier influencers aren't covering the shows in a thoughtful or journalistic way and, instead, their presence and series of Insta Stories are often enough to put a small designer on the map. For major brands, they might show up wearing the designer's wares in a way nobody thought of before. That's the value.

That's why so many are taking to newer and less expensive platforms to show their collections. But the by-product is that Fashion Week is inherently more inclusive and increasingly democratic, which is great. More voices means more collaboration, and more opportunity for hard work to get noticed. I hope the net continues to widen over the upcoming seasons—even if that means editors have to get more creative about the way they cover Fashion Week as a whole.”

Tanisha Pina, associate market editor for Racked
“Going to New York Fashion Week in 2018 feels like having to go to the doctor, remembering to do my taxes, and all of those other things I have to do but don’t feel like doing. As an attendee, it feels a lot less about the actual collections, the innovation and the creativity, and way more about being seen—from blogger mania to editors borrowing clothes to wear throughout the week for street style ops, and my entire Instagram feed full of the same blurry photos. That’s not shade, either. I know some people love it for those reasons. But for me, it just means I’d much rather just catch up on Vogue Runway or M2M from the comfort of my own desk.

Plus, shows notoriously run 20 to 30 minutes behind and last all of eight minutes, so it’s hard to justify being out and about when I still have actual work to get done. I think the presentation format works so much better for that reason alone: You can pop in and view the collection as fast or slow as you want on your own time, and actually see the clothes. For the brands, I imagine they get a lot more for their money doing it that way, too. All that said, there are definitely still some collections that I get excited to see IRL, like Sandy Liang, Adam Selman, Maryam Nassir Zadeh, and Ulla Johnson. They’re never not good.”

Jenna Igneri, associate fashion and beauty editor for NYLON 
“I think fashion shows are becoming more and more irrelevant as time goes on. Thanks to technology, anyone can view a fashion show or presentation from anywhere in the world—sometimes even live—so that glamorous feeling of exclusivity has long been lost. Fashion Week has become much more of a spectacle overrun with bloggers and influencers and street style photographers, taking away from the focus of the actual collections themselves.

As a digital editor, I won't be working with the clothes being shown for months and months after seeing them, so it makes much more sense for me to attend a preview where I'm touching and seeing the collection up close and closer to when I'd be working with the pieces. And, since imagery is all available online and on social media instantly anyway, I can still cover the breaking news and trend stories emerging from NYFW without having to physically be there.”

Erin Cunningham, fashion news director at Refinery29
“For me, the internet and the way we create and consume content has changed Fashion Week dramatically. Because, amidst going to shows, the digital media world is still operating business as usual, publishing content both related and unrelated to Fashion Month. There's this need to be behind your computer and out in the market at once, and it can be quite demanding. Over time, to make it more manageable, I've really honed in on what designers I really want to see and WHY. With SO much happening, it's impossible to be in 10 places at once.

To me, there needs to be a purpose, whether it's on-site coverage, social, or just something that will bring personal satisfaction and enjoyment. Because, at the end of the day, this is a job; but, beyond that, it's also a passion point for so many people who work in the industry. Going to London Fashion Week last February was one of the most exciting experiences of my career—the shows were small, in incredible venues, and the clothes were immensely creative. My first show ever was Oscar de la Renta in 2012, and it was held in their office on 42nd street. And that's what LFW reminded me of. You look around the room and realize that everyone there really CARES about their job. It's doesn't feel like a who's-here-just-to-get-their-photo-taken spectacle. That's what we need more of. Fashion shows where people can actually SEE the clothes!!!!”

Irina Grechko, managing editor for NYLON
“While one can argue that, with how fast the high-resolution images from the runways and presentations pop up on the internet, there is really no reason to indulge in the pomp and circumstance typically surrounding fashion shows, there is still no way to relay the movement of a skirt full of fringe until it swooshes right in front of your eyes or how a certain type of paillette catches the light at a certain angle. Now is especially an interesting time for fashion shows as designers are stepping out from behind the runway veil and making political stances and fighting for important causes, which rarely happened before Trump’s election.

This, though, also means that it is just as interesting to observe what designers are doing in lieu of showing at Fashion Week shows. Whether they are creating magazine-worthy lookbooks (à la what Rodarte did with its fairy-tale-like shoot featuring celebrities like Kirsten Dunst, Chloe and Halle, and Rowan Blanchard) because they are tired of adhering to the traditional fashion calendar. Or, using the resources typically reserved for fashion shows to donate time and money to important causes (see: Rebecca Minkoff, who is focusing her efforts on activism in alliance with The Women's March). My eyes this season are just as much on the runway as they are off.”

Maria Bobila, associate editor at Fashionista
“As much as I complain about running around the city from show to show each fashion week, I still get excited about seeing what each designer has in store for the season. However, I do think the value of a fashion show differs for each designer. For up-and-coming labels, fashion week is a great time to showcase a designer's vision to the industry at large. But throwing a show or presentation is a huge investment, so it doesn't exactly have to happen with the very first collection, and it's definitely not the one and only option when it comes to building buzz.

I actually see fashion shows as a challenge for more established designers because they're the ones that are trying to maintain relevancy, whether it's by creating super-aspirational looks to translate well on social media, or picking a memorable location for attendees to see the new collection. We're living in a time where we value experience over stuff, so a white-box venue with a plain runway won't cut it these days, no matter how good the clothes look. It's instances like that where I could have saved myself the travel and time to simply see the collection on my iPhone.” 

Jessica Andrews, digital fashion editor at Teen Vogue
"Runway shows aren't over, but they are evolving. When I started out in this industry over 10 years ago, ready-to-wear shows were much more practical in nature; they were mostly attended by editors and buyers and the focus was purely on the clothing. Now, with the advent of social media, there's an element of spectacle that wasn't there before. Shows today are decidedly consumer-facing with a heightened celebrity presence and this competition to generate the most buzz on social media; the clothes are sometimes an afterthought. I prefer to skip those types of shows and wait for the photos online because, if I can't even see the clothes amid the hoopla of the front row or the celebrity guest performance, I can't do my job effectively.

That said, I do think showmanship still has a place in fashion, especially when a designer uses the runway show medium—music, setting, designs, even the casting—to convey a powerful message. Pyer Moss, for example, used the runway show format to great effect with the brand's Spring 2016 collection about police brutality. The designer Kerby Jean-Raymond played a short film about racially-motivated police killings and sent boots splattered with blood and "I can't breathe" shirts down the runway. When a runway show provides social commentary or tells a compelling story, then it can be not only culturally relevant but a very powerful moment." 

Julie Tong, fashion market editor at Yahoo Style
“I think the way I approach NYFW has evolved as the industry evolves. As print media has expanded into digital media, you can watch nearly every show as it happens, so the immediacy and access are less restricted than before. You don’t necessarily have to attend a show to cover it, which I think has its pros and cons. There are also differences working as a digital fashion editor vs. print fashion editor. Working in digital enlists a different set of demands when attending a show (i.e. publishing a story ASAP afterward), which, in turn, tightens the flexibility of one’s schedule to attend more shows. However, I do think NYFW has become much more commercialized and less focused on the creative beauty that is a fashion show to its detriment.

It is difficult to say what needs to change, but what I can say is that I find myself drawn to shows that have a purpose, a message, and a story that is clearly reflected in all facets of a show—from the production to the setting to the models cast and, of course, the clothes. But at the same time, I loved Marc Jacob’s stripped-down fashion shows at the Park Avenue Armory the past few seasons where there was no music and no fancy staging—just the clothes and the click-clack of the model’s heels. There’s something really beautiful about that.”

Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

"I am honored to share this bonding experience with my own daughter"

In a heart-warming Instagram photo, Serena Williams shares the history of hair braiding and the importance of the tradition. The tennis player shared a photo of herself braiding her daughter Olympia Ohanian's hair and spoke about how "honored" she was to be able to "add another generation" to the tradition of the practice.

The photo shows Williams attentively braiding her daughter's hair while Olympia smiles, obviously loving the experience. Williams noted that hair braiding was created by the Himba people in Namibia, Africa, and that "we have been braiding our hair for centuries." "In many African tribes braided hairstyles were a unique way to identify each tribe," she continued.

Williams pointed out that braiding is a bonding experience. "People would often take the time to socialize," she wrote. "It began with the elders braiding their children, then the children would watch and learn from them. The tradition of bonding was carried on for generations, and quickly made its way across the world."

Williams closed her post with a sweet message about her daughter, saying that she's "honored to share this bonding experience" with her.

See the post, below.

Courtesy of Adidas

The Stan Smiths are a must-have

Adidas just shared its capsule of sneakers paying tribute to Keith Haring, and TBH I can already feel my wallet emptying (and they're not even on sale yet). The new collection features three shoe silhouettes, all including the late artist's iconic imagery as embroidered designs.

The standout style of the collection is the Rivalry hi-top; with bright blue and orange stripes and piping along the edges, Haring's stars and cartoon bodies, in black thread, pop right off. If you're looking for something less over-the-top, the quirky white Nizza Hi RF sneakers show a snake wrapping around the back of the shoe and chasing one of Haring's cartoon bodies toward the toe. There's also a minimal embroidered design on the toe of a classic Stan Smith pair. Look a little more closely at the tongue though, and you'll notice the traditional image has been swapped with a caricature of Haring himself.

Peep the three silhouettes, below, and set your calendar for the official drop at the end of the month.

Adidas, Rivalry Hi Keith Haring Shoes, $120, available at Adidas starting at 10am EST on June 30.

Adidas, Nizza Hi RF Haring Shoes, $120, available at Adidas starting at 10am EST on June 30.

Adidas, Stan Smith Keith Haring Shoes, $120, available at Adidas starting at 10am EST on June 30.

NYLON uses affiliate links and may earn a commission if you purchase something through those links, but every product chosen is selected independently.

Photos by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images, Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Hopefully this one will be typo-free

In an Instagram Live on Thursday, Taylor Swift announced that she would be creating a collaboration with fashion designer Stella McCartney inspired by her upcoming Lover album. Although she kept it vague, we can only assume that the two are working on a collection of luxe merch.

Swift noted in the announcement that she has been friends with McCartney "for a really long time," and that the designer already heard the new album. "I respect what she creates, how she creates it," Swift continued. "There's so much whimsy and imagination and romance to the clothing that she designs." Swift has been wearing McCartney's designs "a lot recently," so maybe we should have seen the collab coming.

One eagle-eyed fan pointed out that Swift wore Stella McCartney rainbow-hued shoes during her Wango Tango set. If the collab is anything like these shoes, you can bet I'll be copping it as quick as I can.

Swift detailed in her Instagram Live that the album Lover would be all about romance, which makes McCartney and her feminine designs perfect for the collaboration. We just hope that this collection doesn't have any typos, like some of Swift's "ME!" merch did.

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Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

And spreads the message that "we all got crowns"

Late on Thursday, Taylor Swift dropped a new single, "You Need To Calm Down," and announced her forthcoming studio album, Lover, out this August. Following her lead single "ME!" Swift continues to spread her message of self-love and call out haters—particularly the homophobic ones—in this latest song.

Swift "ended homophobic locals," as one fan put it on Twitter, with one particular lyric: "'Cause shade never made anybody less gay."

Along with the song, Swift shared a lyric video via YouTube which made her sentiments even clearer. With her lyric, "Why are you made?/ When you could be glad?" she spelled "glad" as "GLAAD," referencing the queer media advocacy organization.

Swift sings of homophobic protestors in the second verse: "Sunshine on the street at the parade/ But you would rather be in the dark ages/ Makin' that sign must've taken all night." In the pre-chorus, she adds, "You just need to take several seats and then try to restore the peace/ And control your urges to scream about all the people you hate."

Swift additionally comments on women being pitted against each other—"We see you over there on the internet comparing all the girls who are killin' it"—asserting that "we all got crowns." There's nothing trolls can do to rain on her parade anymore.

One fan pointed out the possible symbolism of the crown lyric. In "Call It What You Want," track 14 on Reputation, she sings "They took the crown but it's alright." Now on "You Need To Calm Down," track 14 of Lover, she sings that there's not just one crown—we all have them.

Some fans are pointing to the double meaning of the track title. If I had a dollar for every time someone said those words to me in a totally condescending way, I'd probably be richer than her! What woman hasn't been told to calm down about an entirely not-calm situation or while expressing their distaste?

During Swift's live stream for the release of the song, she also announced a fashion collaboration with designer Stella McCartney, a peek of which we got during the singer's WangoTango performance.

Lover is set for August 23 release.

Credit: Frederick Elmes/ Focus Features

"I was like, 'Did I sleep with this critic's girlfriend, or what?'"

The day I meet Jim Jarmusch, the sun hangs so bright and hot and yellow and solid in the sky that it's hard to believe that it will actually set at night. It's one of those New York June days that suggests we might be in permanent daylight; it's got a completely different feeling than the crepuscular atmosphere of Jarmusch's latest film, The Dead Don't Die, which takes place in a small town in what feels like one long twilight, maybe the last one.

But for today, Jarmusch and I are sitting at a table in a sun-filled restaurant, though we're in the shade. We're in a part of the city that used to be very punk rock, and is now very NYU, yet being there with Jarmusch, who looks so at home, like he's holding court in the booth (it helps that Larry Fessenden, an old friend of Jarmusch's and a writer/director/producer/actor, who appears in The Dead Don't Die, happens by the table to say hi), makes the area feel a little punk rock again, even with all the sun.

The Dead Don't Die is a very punk rock zombie movie, by which I mean: It's not very scary, but it is very cool, and even when it's sneering, it's a little bit tender. Starring Bill Murray, Adam Driver, and Chloë Sevigny as a trio of small-town cops who fight back against a nascent zombie apocalypse caused by fracking, the film is cast with a who's who of Jarmusch regulars, like Steve Buscemi, Tilda Swinton, Iggy Pop, and Fessenden, to name a few; but it also features younger stars like Caleb Landry Jones, Selena Gomez, and Luka Sabbat—and there's a real earworm of a theme song, courtesy of Sturgill Simpson.

Below, I speak with Jarmusch about the movie, being a dilettante, and why he only reads his negative reviews—which is definitely one of the most punk rock things I've ever heard.

Photo by Gareth Cattermole/ Getty Images

This was filmed on a pretty condensed shooting schedule, right?
It was a very rough schedule. A very difficult one, actually.

We only had seven weeks to shoot, and we had to shoot Adam Driver out in three weeks because he had to be delivered to Star Wars, and the financing of the film was incredibly grueling and took a long time, so we were pushed so far that we had about one month of prep, and then three weeks with Adam. And then all these different actors coming in and out; I don't know how Carter and Josh, the two producers, organized it all. And then we'd shoot 15-hour days, and halfway through, I had walking pneumonia; I had two coats; it was 95 out; I was shaking. You know, just weird stuff like that. But it's all okay because we had such great people—our crew—everybody. And then, the visual effects were very taxing and complicated.

How did that all work together? Because there's more than one decapitated head.
Yeah, it's a mixture. First of all, we mixed prosthetics with makeup with masks for some of the zombie stuff, but all of those effects with the decapitations, we had to just imagine. So we had to choreograph everything and then only imagine kind of what it would be like, which was, for me, very abstract because I'm not very versed in visual effects. You know, you had to really kind of trust your instincts, because Adam Driver's chopping away with a machete with no blade.

It could've been a machete, it could've been a lightsaber, who knows? So, to what degree is this a sequel of Paterson with Adam Driver's character's last name being Peterson?
Well, I just do these things to amuse myself while writing, you know? Bill Murray in Broken Flowers was named Don Johnson, and in this, I gave him the name Cliff Robertson. Tilda Swinton's character is Zelda Winston. Rosie Perez is named Posie Juarez. You know, I'm just kind of amusing myself.

And Peterson, Paterson. While we were filming Paterson I was always teasing Adam that the next one, we would make was gonna be a sequel about a psychopathic murderous bus driver named Peterson. Tag line: "Get the fuck off my bus!" Or "Next Stop Hell!" You know, stuff like that. It's just to make them... I love trying to make Adam Driver laugh, because he has a very odd and wonderful sense of humor, but it's on the dry side, so I'm always joking around with him between work to try and see what makes him laugh.

But yeah, there's no sequel of any kind, and I don't think that way, and I don't plan, and I don't see my films from the past ever again. I just look toward the next thing.

Credit: Frederick Elmes/ Focus Features

What was the original concept for this? When did you start coalescing all of these different elements into knowing that you wanted it to be your next film?
Some years ago after Only Lovers Left Alive, Tilda kept teasing me, calling me, saying, "When do we do the zombies? When are we doing the zombies?" And in between I made Paterson and Gimme Danger, but then after those I started writing the zombie one, and my original conception was: I wanna make a film that's really funny and silly like Coffee and Cigarettes, where people talk about whatever nonsense I want them to, and I want to get actors I love, you know? So I thought, okay, if I make a zombie film, I can have a structure where different groups are cordoned off against the zombies, and the zombie attacks will be intermittent and not very long, so I'll have long lags where they're just stuck there, like in the house of The Night of the Living Dead, where they can talk about any kind of nonsense. So that was my first idea, and then when I started writing it, for some reason, I wanted to have a small town, Centerville, and I just followed my intuition, and it became this, I don't really know why beyond that.

What is it about small towns that make them the perfect setting for existential terror?
They're insular. They're kind of… everyone kind of knows each other. It's controllable by the characters. It's believable that everyone kind of know each other. I don't know. I'm not very good at analyzing that. And also, this is not a horror film because horror films use devices that are necessary to frighten people, like suspense, and then you get scared. We have no interest whatsoever in that. This is more of a metaphorical zombie film, but I would not call it a horror movie. It's a comedy with zombies with a kind of sad ending. Beyond that, I don't know what it is.

And horror nerds may not like it if they're expecting creepy, creepy, scary thing! They're not gonna get it. They're not gonna get that delivered to them.

What's interesting about it is seeing who fights back against this existential dread. Or, like, Chloë Sevigny's character, Mindy, doesn't fight, she is on her own separate trip, avoiding the end till she embraces it.
It's a character film. It's not even a plot film, really, although critics say that about all my films. But Chloë… it's a complicated thing, because when I first called Chloë, I told her... I wrote her a letter, and then she said, "Yeah, yeah I'd like to do this." And I said, obviously, this is not a feminist character. She's reactive. She's our sort of "Scream Queen." She screams like six times. But Chloë is the master of reaction, and I love watching her react.

She definitely feels like a stand-in for what a normal person would feel during these absurdist experiences, which is nice to have. It's not necessarily that you need a relatable character in a movie like this, but...
Yeah, but she's an empathetic human that's in a job with some authority, but in a small town where that means taking care of whatever, you know, as a police officer, pretty minimal [stuff]. There's not a lot of rampant crime or anything going on… or anything at all, really.

Credit : Frederick Elmes / Focus Features

A lot of people are going to be projecting tons of different meanings onto this film, like with all your films. To what level do you participate in that or pay attention to that? Or, once you're done making a film, is it just out there, and you just let people project onto it whatever they will?
I've always felt that anyone's interpretation of a film that I write and direct is probably more valid than my own. Because it's a funny thing, the beauty of films is going into a world—or a book or whatever—but going into a world that you don't know, and you are entering a world, and it takes you. And if you wrote it, and you were there filming it, and you're in the editing room every day for six months, the mix, and all that... I can never possibly see it. I like hearing what friends or people I know... I like Q and As after screenings because they have no agenda except their interest. I like that a lot, and I value that. I don't really like to read a lot of reviews unless they're really negative. I love the negative ones.

You do?
Yeah, because they must be very far from me in their perception of the world, and that is interesting to me. But I try not to read a lot...

I think you're probably the first person who I've ever spoken to who says they like to read the negative reviews.
I really like them. The worst one I ever got in my life, I laminated and used to carry in my wallet. It was a brief thing from a right-wing French [paper], maybe Le Figaro or something, of a film called Dead Man that we made, and they said—this is the English translation—"The French intelligence celebrates Jarmusch in the way death and blind parents would celebrate their retarded child. Jarmusch is 33 years old, the same age as Christ when he was crucified. We can only hope the same for his film career." I was like, Whoa! That is harsh! I'm keeping that one!

It gets personal.
But that was vicious. I was like, Did I sleep with this critic's girlfriend, or what? What happened? It was really... the knife was sharpened, you know.

That speaks to a very specific kind of agenda for sure.
A friend of mine Amos Poe, he's sort of a mentor of mine, a punk filmmaker, whatever, and when we were young when he made, in the late-'70s, one of his films—The Foreigner or Unmade Beds—the New York Times called it "the cinematic equivalent of kindergarten scribbling," and he put that on his posters and put "New York Times" and we were like punks, we were like, "Yes! Amos! That's great!"

I mean, it genuinely is a pretty great pull quote, and I think also a little bit oblivious to the charms of a kindergartener's scribbles and what the value is in that anyway.
Yeah, it was kind of accurate in a positive way, and they intended it as very negative.

In this film, there are so many actors who are veteran actors, but there are also a lot of younger actors. What do you like about the combination of that dynamic?
I just like the variety of sort of world perceptions—indicated in a very minor way when Bill Murray's character says, "I've known Hermit Bob since we were in junior high," and Adam's character says, "Oh, wow! That must've been like 50 years ago!" And Bill says, "Yeah. It was." But just the kind of difference of perception of age I find as I get older really interesting. And I'm very interested in young people, especially teenagers, because I think they form our sense of style, of music, of so many things, and yet they're kind of pushed around and treated badly and constantly told, "You don't know how the world really works! You're just a teenager!" But they gave us poetry. They gave us Mary Shelley and Rimbaud and chess masters, and all the great music comes a lot from teenagers. So I tried to keep a pulse, that's why the three teenagers, I would not let them turn into zombies. There are only four people [who don't get turned by zombies]: those three that are delinquents, and the Tom Waits character, who's already removed himself from the social order long before.

When the zombies become zombies, they all have one inciting thing that they're still pursuing in the real world. Do you have one thing that you think you would pursue if you were a zombie?
You know, it's hard because I'm a self-proclaimed dilettante. I'm interested in so many things, I don't know if I would be breaking into a bookstore, or if I would be in the alley outside of a movie theater, or if I would be trying to get into a guitar shop. I'm not sure. I have a lot of interests.

I mean there's a way in which it's a really tender portrayal of the human impulse to just seek out these things that they love.
It's not totally a critique; it's their vestigial memory of some things that they were drawn toward, whether it was power tools or oxycontin.

The Dead Don't Die is in theaters now.

Credit: Frederick Elmes/ Focus Features