By Ashley Gross
One of the most well-attended fashion events of the year was canceled this season. Fashion’s Night Out, a favorite September shopping event for fashionistas around the world, was called off in the U.S., primarily because it didn’t generate revenue for participating stores.
A website dedicated to the event posted this statement: “Fashion’s Night Out will go on hiatus in the United States in 2013 in order to enable retailers to channel their resources toward strategies more in keeping with their current priorities.”
In recent years, the event has also been criticized for creating confusion and noise complaints as well as leading to underage drinking, and, in at least one case, fighting among attendees.
For the past four years, Fashion’s Night Out has offered a one-night party full of free cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, designer and celebrity appearances, and after-hours shopping.
“Fashion’s Night Out always brings in a . . . crowd,” says Dareth Trenary, who works for the upscale Dallas retailer Forty Five Ten, which has taken part in the citywide event every year.
The event was launched in 2009 in New York at the height of the recession to help generate revenue and publicity for struggling retailers and the next year went nationwide. It was canceled this year when the initial goals set by Anna Wintour and the Council of Fashion Designers of America were not met.
Zack Shumway, who works for the new Tom Ford boutique in Highland Park Village, says he’s disappointed that the event was canceled this year. He considered Fashion’s Night Out a way to get those people who might not otherwise visit through the door.
“I think the point of FNO is to make high-end fashion design accessible to the masses,” he says. “Usually the stores feel intimidating.” Shumway also believes that while the event did not generate revenue that night, it “could be a driver for future revenue.”
He says that the people who normally attend are not regular customers or big revenue generators. The attendees of Fashion’s Night Out are there for the chic environment, the free goodies and the exposure to high society.
Although the U.S. didn’t participate in FNO this year, other countries — from Austria to Japan to Turkey — kept the party going. On Sept. 6, Moscow hosted FNO in many of its high-end stores. Kira Plastinina, an SMU student and Russian clothing designer, attended the event to support her brand. “Fashion’s Night Out is a way for us to support our retail partners and do something special for them,” says Plastinina. “It has proved to be very successful for the past three years.”