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The BoF Podcast: Michael Kors on Why He Left Fashion Week

The American designer has streamlined his collections to just two per year.
Michael Kors | Photo: Inez and Vinoodh
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LONDON, United Kingdom — To show or not to show: that is the question on the minds of designers as the calendar inches closer to Fashion Month. Some designers have set their sights on a September show, others are using this pandemic-induced upheaval to take a pause and consider whether or not they should be showing during the traditional Fashion Weeks at all.

American all-star designer Michael Kors joined several other big names, including Saint Laurent and Gucci, in questioning the efficacy of the schedule's incessant pace when he announced he won't be presenting a Spring/Summer 2021 collection at New York Fashion Week.

"We can't just always do things the way we've done them in the past… Everyone I think realises that the whole system is mixed up, [it] doesn't make sense," Kors told BoF Editor-at-Large Tim Blanks on the latest episode of The BoF Podcast. "You can't look over your shoulder, you have to think about what's next… right now we have slowed up and I think slowing up is important."

Kors, whose shows have historically kicked off the last day of New York Fashion Week, discusses his decision to move off the calendar and reduce his production schedule to two collections per year.

  • Recently, the designer announced that he will be presenting his Spring/Summer 2021 collection globally on October 15 on the brand's social and digital platforms. This will allow consumers to shop the Autumn/Winter collection, which lands in stores in September, before a new season hits the shelves. "October... really became the perfect moment to show a new collection, without cutting off the previous collection that had just arrived in the shops," he said.
  • For Kors, one reason that influenced the decision to streamline the number collections was the fact that multiple seasons felt convoluted. "Whatever was wrong with calling it Spring/Summer, these are two actual seasons. Fall/Winter, what is Pre-Fall? There is no such thing as Pre-Fall." he said. "Why are we confusing the consumer and the press with a new season when they haven't even absorbed the one that has just arrived in the shops? It just didn't make sense to me."
  • Part of what has fuelled the high-frequency garment output in the industry is "this insatiable appetite for what's new," Kors added. If it makes sense, great, but "new for newness' sake, or because it will look cool on Instagram? Forget it." Social media has played a critical role in shaping the view that if an item of clothing has been worn once, it can't be worn again. "The word 'content' has diseased the fashion industry. I want to see an image that lasts for more than a second. I want words that actually resonate."
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Michael Kors Is the Latest Brand to Depart from the Fashion CalendarOpens in new window ]

A Proposal for Rewiring the Fashion SystemOpens in new window ]

Gucci Just Left the Fashion Calendar Behind. Who Will Follow?Opens in new window ]

Watch and listen to more #BoFLIVE conversations here. To contact The Business of Fashion with comments, questions, or speaker ideas please e-mail podcast@businessoffashion.com.

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