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What Happened to Fashion Week in Four Charts

In recent years, hundreds of designers have stopped showing at fashion weeks in New York, London, Milan and Paris. BoF analysed two years of shows to understand the scale and shape of the exodus.
Runway womenswear
Models walk the runway during the Lanvin show as part of the Paris Fashion Week Womenswear. Pascal Le Segretain. (Pascal Le Segretain)
By
  • Joan Kennedy, Darcey Sergison and Brian Baskin

Not all that long ago, most fashion brands built their businesses on luxury department stores, magazines like Vogue and fleeting-but-expensive runway shows staged in one of the four fashion capitals. How times have changed.

Department stores have lost their grip on retail, Instagram has displaced glossy magazines and major brands are as likely to debut a new collection in Shanghai or Los Angeles as they are in New York or Paris, while smaller brands are turning to non-traditional formats. Some are moving away from the idea of showing seasonal collections at all. A steady stream of departures from the traditional fashion week schedule over the last decade turned into a flood during the pandemic, when in-person events became all but impossible.

To better understand the ins and outs of the exodus from fashion week, BoF tracked more than 300 designers who showed in New York, London, Milan or Paris in February 2019 over the following four seasons. The fate of the “Class of 2019″ illustrates the extent of the upheaval. In New York and London, the vast majority of designers who showed just two years ago did not appear on the schedule this past season. Even Milan and Paris, despite their core of global megabrands, have experienced steady attrition.

The four charts below — covering New York, London, Milan and Paris — show how the “Class of 2019″ has evolved its fashion week strategy from February 2019 to the present. To see the trajectory of certain notable names, click on the dots with contrasting colours. The results suggest that the great fashion week unbundling is here.

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