Last night was the Vogue sponsored “Fashion’s Night Out,” and while I had my immense doubts about FNO stemming from last year’s shit show (for a lack of a better phrase) and from the incredibly awkward name (c’mon now, an apostrophe on fashion? How is that easy to say?). I still decided to approach it with an open mind but with a large, large grain of salt.
So, I planned my schedule and decided to see how successful this evening was going to be. Bear in mind, the whole point of FNO (I am abbreviating, it’s such an awkward name, even to type it) is to raise awareness of the multi billion dollar business that is fashion industry and how most fashion related things are based in New York City in the Garment District. That includes factories that make clothing, PR firms, designer studios, etc which are based in this one neighborhood, and due to rising rent, most are leaving or moving operations overseas. The other part of FNO is to also get people shopping to help with the economy. Now, that sounds crazy, because during a recession people need to cut back and save, and thus, cut out unnecessary expenditures. However, to help get out of a recession, people need to spend, so the whole point of tonight was really just to shop. Which leaves a weird taste in my mouth. Create a big ole party that costs tons of money just to get people to spend tons of money on things they don’t really need?
Which, herein lies the problem with FNO, I attempted to hit up stores and see what was what. First on my list was Opening Ceremony’s French Flea Market at the Ace Hotel.
Inside the lobby of the hotel, there were little stands set up with different designers selling different things. Alexander Wang was selling chinese chotskies and food, Band of Outsiders was selling a cookie monster polaroid tee shirt for 45 dollars and Momofuku cookies, and Rodarte was selling bow ties, tee shirts, and vintage dresses. Oh and Proenza Schouler was selling their $1,500 booties. So there was that. Hmm, did I buy anything? Obviously not. No, I don’t need pineapple buns but thanks A. Wang, yes they look delicious. Do I need a forty five dollar tee shirt that has a polaroid screen printed on it? Heck no, I don’t. I’m sure somebody does but not me. Did I need to wait in line for thirty minutes and battle crowds just to view these wares? Again, no I did not.
After that, I met up with some friends in Soho and we bounced from Prada to Guess to Mango just for the free liquor and food. Everything was incredibly crowded, and people were waiting in long, long lines to get into places like Victoria’s Secret to meet models and such. We then hit up the Bond St Block Party, which had some delicious food truck food wares and a sword swallower, so good times all around, even if we could barely navigate the cobbled streets that were open to vehicular traffic (such a bad call). The low point of the evening was attempting to get into Balenciaga to see the Cindy Sherman exhibit and Karen Elson perform, where I waited in an unmoving line for thirty minutes. My friend Amanda, who was with me most of the night, were talking about our expectations for that night. I was under the impression that designers selling things at Opening Ceremony would be selling some of their wares just made more affordable, such as a Band of Outsiders jacket made in a different material for a lot less money or something along those lines. Prada only had free drinks but nothing special for sale just for FNO. Mango had 30% all merchandise in the store, which I think was the smartest move of the night. Not only did they sell merchandise, by also setting up an open bar, they appealed to their demographic and helped their brand loyalty by creating an environment in which their shoppers wanted to be there and felt appreciated. Liquor and discounts sound like fun especially if you are already a fan of the brand.
But the whole problem with FNO is that you get people wanting to party and not wanting to spend money. I don’t see how this is cost effective at all. It cost money to host a party, to buy liquor and to increase people’s work hours. To plan and advertise all of this also costs money. I would love to see the amount of sales that stores made on FNO compared to a normal work day, because I bet there is no difference.
However, one of the biggest problems of FNO is the idea of FNO. Do we really need a night that is just for shopping when people are already shopping. Vogue seems to be curious as to why people aren’t shopping at, per se, Balenciaga? Well, I would be shopping there if I could freaking afford their plexiglass and wooden shoes, but I can’t. Same goes to Rodarte, Alexander Wang and Band of Outsiders. Last night was a chance to maybe create something cool and affordable that they could sell and make money off of, however a tee shirt ain’t that cool, and neither is chinese candy I could probably find in Chinatown for cheaper.
All in all, it was incredibly crowded and somewhat lame in certain venues. But maybe the highlight or the low light of the night, was that I heard people screaming about boys dressed up as Ken Dolls in a truck and they were in fake, plastic Ken Doll boxes. Oh well, at least I got a taco and free champagne out of it.
Photos of Prada and Bond St
And some some street style from Opening Ceremony