On September 8, the third annual Fashion's Night Out shopping extravaganza will be held, and it will certainly be the biggest one yet. The shopping initiative which kicks off New York Fashion Week began in 2008 and is organized by Vogue and the Council of Fashion Designers of America. This year it has expanded into 250 cities and will include 200 e-tailers. There are more than 1,000 stores in New York at every price range and The Thread can't wait. We spoke with CFDA Executive Director Steven Kolb about what we can expect and where he'll be shopping.
Retailers are going all out this year with carnivals, game shows, concerts, and parties. What exactly is the CFDA's role in the evening?
We're really just putting the structure in place--the website, the listings, facilitating when permits are needed, making introductions when retailers are looking for talent. Each store has the real autonomy and plenty of creative people coming up with ideas unique to who they are. We don't approve or force anybody to do anything. We want them to do what they want to do and be what they want to be as a retailer.
What are some of the types of events we can look forward to?
Game show-type programs, where shoppers and designers will participate and interact in a fashion environment. At some retailers you can get your picture taken by a famous photographer. Restaurants will be partnering with retailers so food continues to be a big part of it. There will celebrities, musicians, and all the designers will be out. It's about stepping into fashion for a night.
Of course the real focus of the evening is the actual shopping.
Exactly. It's a chance for loyal shoppers to come out early and buy for fall, but I think it's also about the special products. Many designers are doing one-of-a kind, only-one-night items. There are options from $20 up to thousands of dollars, so there's a level of retailer that meets everybody's budget.
And there's a charitable aspect as well so people can feel good about supporting causes with their purchases.
It's our third year doing a special collection of Fashion's Night Out merchandise where 40 percent of the proceeds benefit the New York City AIDS Fund. There's a fund created by CFDA and Vogue when we did event years ago called 7th On Sale--a designer sample sale. The fashion industry has been one of the largest donors so it's pretty significant, and the impact of that on the grass-roots HIV and AIDS organizations in the city is meaningful. A lot of retailers are doing products that benefit the AIDS Fund as well as other charities related to September 11 because of the closeness to the date. Last year we did a tote bag that became a real "it" bag. So this year we did three styles of a new bag. There's a men's T-shirt and a women's T-shirt and also an FNO hat. Most of the participating retailers are selling them.
How will you spend the night?
The most commonly asked questions! Honestly it's a big night with 1,000 stores. We have 407 CFDA members and I like to think I'm loyal to each one, but that would be humanly impossible so I'm going to hit as many members as possible. I'll go down to Diane von Furstenberg's because she's the president of the CFDA and take it from there.