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New York must mind the Transatlantic gap

The past few seasons have seen London’s fashion scene go from strength to strength.

Milan takes care of the sex and glamour and Paris brings beauty and the avant-garde. And as London’s stock continues to rise, the gulf between the three European fashion capitals and their New York counterpart is becoming more and more apparent (and I’m not just talking about the size of the Atlantic).

The official New York Fashion Week (NYFW) website cites the Stateside schedule as running from September 6 to 13. That’s a whole eight days, compared with London’s five (September 14 to 18). And the result of NY’s week-and-a-day’s worth of back-to-back shows can be summed up in one word – filler.

Although it’s not all filler and no killer, there’s a lot of padding. Offering a platform for designers to showcase their wares is great, but the powers that be – the Council of Fashion Designers of America – need to do some editing and curating. The importance of NYFW can’t be forgotten. It has influential names such as Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren and Marc Jacobs, press favourites such as Victoria Beckham, Alexander Wang and Rodarte, alongside rising stars such as Prabal Gurung. But then there are the many other designers to sift through, that, it could be argued, are beginning to taint the city’s fashion credentials.

And the menswear situation is worse. The smart people at the British Fashion Council launched London Collections: Men this June, which set up the capital’s own menswear week and moved it forward a few months. London’s menswear designers now show just before Milan and Paris (and, importantly, at the start of the buying season when buyers have bulging budgets). This means New York’s menswear designers now show three months (ie, eons) later than their European competitors.

Is New York missing out? I’d say so.

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