Did Fashion Strike Out on Its Night Out?

Sep 16, 2010

By George Anderson

A RetailWire poll in September of last year found
that eighty percent thought the first ever Fashion’s Night was worth the effort.
Only eight percent thought it was a total waste of time.

This year, the event
was even bigger with more retailers and celebrities participating with the
aim of getting people to think about wearing (that means buying) the latest
and greatest on store racks.

While the event certainly generated a lot of press,
numerous reports question whether the event did much for business.

Pam Danziger,
president of Unity Marketing, said, "The FNO (Fashion’s
Night Out) celebrations are essentially preaching to the choir with the same
fashion editors, designers and retailers talking to the same target customers
about things that only interest those in the know about fashion. FNO offers
little to attract those customers not all that into fashion. It is these less
than enthusiastic clothing shoppers that the business needs to attract to give
it a shot in the arm."

A Toronto Star report suggested that the
night was more for those "hellbent
on partying" than spending on clothing and accessories.

Others begged to

"It was a like hybrid of Nuit Blanche, Halloween and Gay Pride," Sarah
Casselman, market editor of Fashion Magazine, told The Star.  "There
is a great energy to the city (New York) and it’s bringing people together
in spirit."

While the point of Fashion’s Night Out was to get consumers
to shop in stores, others are looking to expand the reach of Fashion Week events
through the internet. In one case, Burberry added an e-commerce component to
enable consumers to buy items they saw being modeled on the catwalk.

"It’s giving the consumer even more inside access than the buyer
in the front row," James Gardner, founder and chief executive of Createthe
Group, which is working on the runway live streams for Burberry, told The
New York Times
. "They’re able to put the product in their
shopping bag, pay with their credit card and check out before the buyer is
even finished watching the show and goes to the showroom the next day."

Gardner added, "The economic challenge has added new focus to this,
and technology and digital has almost become the most important strategic priority
in these companies. The brands are seeing this really resonates with the consumer,
and we see huge spikes in traffic."

Discussion Question: What is your
assessment of Fashion’s Night Out and efforts such as webcasts to broaden the
appeal of high fashion?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.

Join the Discussion!

7 Comments on "Did Fashion Strike Out on Its Night Out?"

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Bob Phibbs
11 years 8 months ago

I attended FNO last Friday with Marge Laney and David Polinchock touring SOHO. One store, the Touring Company had just opened and was having an event. When an attendee asked to buy something she was told, “Oh, we’re not set up for that yet.” Other stores told similar stories–it was about giving away food and drink with no effort to sell. Lines were especially long for the Billionaire Boys Club and Ralph Lauren–both very different customers. It was certainly exciting to be part of it with a discovery aspect but, in the end the merchants didn’t seem to understand it was to SELL more merch, not provide a club for their employees.

Marge Laney
11 years 8 months ago
I was at FNO in Soho with Bob Phibbs and David Polinchock taking it all in, so to speak. There were long lines outside of the invitation only events at Chanel, and Ralph Lauren waiting patiently to get a glimpse of the celebrities inside. I don’t know who or what they were displaying or giving away at the Billionaire Boys Club but the line of androgynous young men waiting to get in was blocks long and persisted all evening. We had invites to a couple of retailer events which ran the extreme from embarrassingly void of people to a crush reminiscent of New Year’s Eve, booze and all. Some stores actually were closed as we made our way through the streets. The Louis Vuitton store evidently had decided it was a great day to clean out the stock room and leave the debris on the sidewalk in front of the closed store! Clearly, it was not a big shopping day but, geeze, talk about turning up your nose at the whole event. Now to answer… Read more »
Lee Peterson
11 years 8 months ago
I think FNO is great, let me start with that. All the noise is helpful. BUT, it is still geared towards people that actually understand, want or even CARE about fashion, which is not the center of the belle curve right now. I’m not a believer in all the “real America” stuff so, don’t take this the wrong way, but when I visit public places outside of the true fashion cities (NYC, LA, CHI, SF, MIA, etc.), I just don’t see the demand side of fashion. Granted, a big part of that is the fault of the merchants of mass retail and their ability to create the interest in the first place…now throw a recession on top of that and you’ve got a zero sum game for the world of style and it’s ability to grow. I believe that FNO and efforts like it will eventually hit home, but there are obviously some macro factors at work that prohibit that right now. One of those factors is the fashion being presented by retailers, which is… Read more »
Bob Houk
Bob Houk
11 years 8 months ago

I think the relative paucity of comments on this thread may say something.

I’m certainly not their demographic, and I don’t live in NYC, so perhaps I’m a poor example, but I wasn’t even aware of it this year. I remember reading a few articles last year, but this is the first I’ve seen/read about it this year.

I think Danziger’s comment is spot on: It’s preaching to the choir, there’s no broadening of the base happening.

Christopher P. Ramey
11 years 8 months ago

Fashion’s Night Out is a relatively new event; two years old. It was created to help recover from the ubiquitous markdowns retailers were taking (or giving) on designer products.

If FNO got people in the stores then it is successful – even if it is the choir. After all, the choir is generally the retailer’s best customers.

Francine Espinoza
Francine Espinoza
11 years 8 months ago

I suspect that the (selling) goal of FNO is more intermediate/long term oriented. The atmosphere of the event does not seem to be designed for shopping, but for hanging out, meeting and talking to people, checking out the fashion news and the new merchandise, and so on.

I think it’s a great event that brings customers closer to the stores and facilitates a future selling approach. It may well be more oriented for people in the know, especially at this stage, but once the word is spread and it reaches the masses, I believe it will be a huge event with immediate return.

christine morley
christine morley
11 years 8 months ago

I think FNO created a renewed interest and heightened awareness for fashion. It’s still dominantly a NY event but gaining momentum in only it’s 2nd year.

The CBS broadcast was fabulous for sharing a glimpse normally reserved for very few VIPs, unfortunately shown a week later.

The QVC event did a great job of giving the average customer a behind the scenes look at the industry from both a shopping opportunity as well as an entertainment/celebrity view. They then extended the tail of this event throughout the entire Fashion Week across all media platforms with updated video content, social outreach, NY pop-up shop with meet & greets, product demos, giveaways, etc…really making an elongated celebration of fashion featuring new designers at affordable prices for the masses.


Take Our Instant Poll

How effective do you think Fashion’s Night Out is in getting consumers in the frame of mind to buy?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...