Welcome to Glossy’s New York Fashion Week newsletter, bringing you on-the-ground insights and analysis from straight off the runway. All week, we’ll be sending behind-the-scenes glimpses and interviews with industry members straight to your inbox. To receive the daily NYFW Briefing, sign up here.
At long last, New York Fashion Week is back on.
For editors and buyers craving normalcy, as well as first-time attendees (yes, NYFW is open to to the public), the six days of shows will be a welcome respite from the last 18 months. By and large, the fashion community has rallied together to make NYFW the most it can be, even with limited capacity and required vaccination cards and masks.
“This New York Fashion Week is a reawakening of New York City,” said Patrick Connors, svp of global brand partnerships at IMG Fashion at Endeavor. “It’s a real combined effort from not only IMG and the CFDA, but also from our designer partners and the state and local government. There is a push to have a wonderful week ahead of us, because we’ve all been through so much in the past year and a half — not only as a fashion community, but as a larger New York City community, as well.”
That mindset extends to fashion-adjacent categories like wellness and beauty, which are hoping to capitalize on the 90-plus shows this week. Lifestyle brand Alo Yoga has signed on to be the first official wellness partner for New York Fashion Week. It will offer sound baths and astrology readings, as well as yoga, meditation and breathwork classes, at Spring Studios and select locations within NYC’s Flatiron and SoHo neighborhoods. And longstanding partner Tresemmé is back as NYFW’s official hair-care sponsor.
“This season of New York Fashion Week is Tresemmé’s 27th season as the official haircare sponsor. This September celebrates the resilience of New York, and Tresemmé’ is excited to be back to safely support the beauty and fashion industry that we all love so much,” said Jessica Grigoriou, brand director of Tresemmé and Suave Hair.
Speaking of the boom of the hair segment during Covid, specifically, Grigoriou said, “Over the past 18 months, we’ve seen personal style, particularly when it comes to hair care, totally transform. Whether that means rocking your natural texture or exploring new styling methods, women are letting their inherent style take the lead… At Tresemmé, we want to celebrate the power of individual style and bring inspiration from the runway with looks created with stylist-recommended products that are accessible to all.” LaQuan Smith, Altuzarra, Alice + Olivia, Staud and Studio 189 are among the shows where Tresemmé’s stylists and styles will be front-and-center.
However, Maybelline New York, which began sponsoring NYFW in 2009, did not return for the spring 2022 shows, an indicator that some brands are hedging their bets on fashion week’s return and relevance.
“There is an incredible fit between beauty [and] New York Fashion Week, but the pandemic hit the beauty business pretty rough this year, and consumer behaviors are changing, too,” said Connors. “Maybelline had to move on, but we’re in talks with many beauty brands and large beauty retailers for 2022.”
Just within in the last three years, Maybelline was known to bring NYFW to the masses through immersive livestreaming activations, pop-ups and product that was available for purchase. Maybelline did not respond to requests for comment.
But other makeup brands view a strong showing at New York Fashion Week as an absolute. “The fashion community is fundamental to MAC’s founding DNA, so our presence at one of the industry’s biggest cultural events is an absolute non-negotiable,” said John Demsey, executive group president of the Estée Lauder Companies. He noted that the brand’s presence at NYFW dates back to the late ’90s.
“Backstage remains one of the best places to test our products, providing a feedback loop for durability, ease and style. NYFW also allows us to identify and establish relationships with up-and-coming designers early. [It also lets us] honor our longstanding partners, like Prabal Gurung, who we began supporting more than a decade ago when he was just getting started,” he said. Demsey added that MAC will be active backstage at Moschino, Thom Browne, and Altuzarra, as well as the shows of upstart designers Theophilio and Peter Do, who is making his NYFW debut. Demsey called Do “arguably the most interesting new designer of the moment.”
Nail artist Jin Soon Choi feels similarly; she will be backstage at Peter Do, Michael Kors and Altuzarra. “JinSoon is, at its core, rooted in the fashion industry,” she said. “The community of fashion designers, and hair, makeup and nail artists that form surrounding NYFW is unmatched, and I always want to support in any way I can.”
Choi also remarked that the evolution of fashion week to be more consumer- and social-facing is a win for brands. “Fashion week has certainly kept pace with the digital revolution, and every show translates into a spike in social media hits and sales for the Jin Soon brand,” she said.
That larger awareness is why indie brands are making their first appearance at NYFW, too. Tula inked its first New York Fashion Week partnership with Collina Strada for its presentation, which will be held later today.
“We see it as one of those ‘We have arrived’ brand moments,” said Savannah Sachs, Tula CEO. “We are celebrating and recognizing ourselves with a fellow New York-born and -based brand. Collina Strada has the values of inclusivity, confidence, self-reflection and self-expression; there is a deep alignment with [our brand].”
Beyond prepping models’ skin for the Collina Strada activation today, Tula is also debuting its new Lip SOS product, a skin care-makeup hybrid. “We were thinking about the next frontier for us, in terms of our product and category expansion, and this came out of a passion project for our team,” said Sachs. She noted that, though the brand is a skin-care-first company, its Filter Primer skin care-makeup hybrid is one of its top five best-selling products.
“Over the last year, the skin-care category has just grown immensely, and the consumer is now looking for that natural, no-makeup makeup look. They want their color products to work harder for them; they want the hard-hitting skin care benefits alongside the color payoff,” she said. “In terms of Collina Strada’s aesthetic and the psyche of the consumer right now, that’s what people want both on the runway and off.”
Organic and luxury brand Kjaer Weis also planned a product release timed to New York Fashion Week — its first mascara. But CEO Gillian Gorman Round felt a more intimate and virtual breakfast was the right move, instead of a pile-on event to the existing slate of shows, dinners and parties.
“As a beauty brand — whether you’re big or small — fashion week is always exciting, because we do look for trends. But we took the temperature of the editors and people in our orbit, and a lot of people were not comfortable,” she said. “Candidly, we’re not flying people out to shows, so we had to look at what felt right for our audience, for our brand and for everyone’s safety.” Gorman Round did not rule out the possibility of activating at NYFW in a bigger capacity in coming seasons.
New beauty app Aedit that launched this past summer also planned for an in-person debut alongside NYFW, but rejiggered due to the Delta variant outbreak. “Given the spike in Covid-19 cases, we made the decision to postpone our event and instead host desksides with the press. What we have learned through the pandemic is that technology is the way of the future. While in-person events will always be a part of our strategy, all brands are having to reconsider how they engage with the media and their customers,” said William A. Kennedy III, MD, Aedit’s founder and CEO.
But Demsey believes NYC will be firing on all cylinders in real time this coming week. “After two seasons of mostly virtual presentations, there’s a ton of excitement and desire within the fashion community to be in-person again. People will be going all out this season… To add to the excitement, NYFW will also coincide with the launch of the Costume Institute’s new exhibit, the Met Gala, the U.S. Open and the VMAs. It’s been a tough past 18 months for New York City and the fashion community, in particular, so I’m looking forward to seeing the city buzzing again.”
3 Questions with Danny Harris, CEO of Alo Yoga
How did Alo’s New York Fashion Week participation come about?
“Along with the rest of the world, the fashion week community needs wellness now more than ever. Our mission is to bring yoga to the world — not just the physical practice, but also for the mind and spirit. We are so honored, not only to be the first-ever wellness sponsor for New York Fashion Week, but also to be able to share and spread our mission to this community.”
Tell me more about how Alo Yoga is showing up at NYFW?
“First, with NYFW: The Shows, we will activate the Alo Wellness Dept. On the morning of September 9, we will host kundalini yoga on the rooftop of Spring [Studios] to help raise the vibration. Kundalini works wonders for stress and anxiety, and is great for self-perception and self-appreciation. Later in the evening, we will celebrate bringing wellness to fashion week with a dinner at our rooftop restaurant at Alo Flatiron, with a coursed vegan menu curated by Chef Matthew Kenney. On September 10, Alo Wellness Dept. will continue with a full day of wellness activations at the Mindful Masters’ Bazaar, where we’ll have astrology readings, including readings with Lisa Donovan from The Pattern app, acupressure ear seeding and aura photography. Throughout the week, we will hold press days for Alo Moves, our fitness and wellness platform, as well as men’s and women’s spring 2022 press previews [for our fashion brand], out of [our] Flatiron [location].”
What do you think the consumer angle will do for the brand?
“What I’m most excited about is that this partnership highlights what we do best and what we’re rooted in: taking that studio mindset and applying it on the street. What better platform to showcase this than New York Fashion Week: The Shows?”