Calvin Klein is the latest brand to announce it will give fashion fans a two-for-one showing at New York Fashion Week in February.
On Tuesday, the brand revealed plans to host a co-ed fashion show featuring menswear and womenswear collections in tandem. It will be its first show under the leadership of its new creative director, Raf Simons. In doing so, it will join several other brands that have decided to merge their menswear and womenswear shows, including Bottega Veneta, which shared similar plans on Monday.
The effort is largely economical, designed as a means to cut costs for pricey runway shows. (Christopher Bevans, founder and designer of menswear line Dyne, estimated it costs about $10,000 to hold a runway show.) It’s also a response to the fluctuating fashion calendar, which has placed an emphasis on see-now-buy-now fashion and challenged designers to present new products in innovative ways. Even storied fashion houses like Burberry have switched to the co-ed runway model—the brand pulled out of men’s fashion week in London last year in favor of featuring its men’s and women’s looks on its ready-to-wear runway.
On the same note, brands including Vetements and DSquared used their menswear slots in January and June to showcase both men’s and women’s designs. The trend feeds into the continued difficulty for men’s fashion week to establish an identity. Though Simons announced that he plans to share his eponymous menswear line—which will continue to function autonomously from Calvin Klein—during New York Fashion Week: Men’s, only four other established American brands will be showing: Tommy Hilfiger, Michael Kors, Perry Ellis and Nautica. The remainder of the 66 included brands are smaller, emerging companies, many of which strictly specialize in men’s clothing.
At its crux, men’s fashion week was designed to help American designers catch up to sales schedules, Valentine Uhovski, fashion evangelist at Tumblr (which is a partner of men’s fashion week) told Glossy in July. Regardless of its rocky state, she’s confident it will stay intact.
“The new schedule gets a lot of the American designers a head start on sales,” she said. “Now, people are still adjusting to their own calendar, but men’s fashion week isn’t going anywhere. The energy and coverage is there.”
While the future of men’s fashion week remains uncertain, brands eschewing gendered fashion show slots is also indicative of a shift toward gender neutrality in the industry. While Calvin Klein’s and Bottega Veneta’s garments aren’t gender-neutral, their efforts demonstrate inclusivity. They may also propagate more unisex lines in the coming season, like Alexander Wang’s 84-piece collection for Adidas that debuted as a surprise drop during New York Fashion Week in September.