In anticipation of the upcoming digital fashion week in New York, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) has launched ‘Runway360’, a digital platform. The city of New York is currently in phase four of reopening, however indoor gatherings of large groups of people are still restricted. Consequently, the digital fashion week will only run from the 14th to the 16th of September.
CFDA made the decision to launch the platform to create a “one-stop-shop” to support American designers in these unprecedented times. All designers on the official NYFW schedule will have access to a customisable page to showcase their collections.
The platform will include livestreams, collection content, press notes and designer profiles all in one place. Steven Kolb, the CEO of CFDA has stated that the platform is “really open access and democratic...whatever your budget”. During a Zoom presentation of the new concept, Kolb was keen to specify that the new digital platform was not an editorial site, but more of a business tool; “It is not a panel discussion with three models talking about trends.”
Furthermore, it has been specified that the service is free and will help designers with short term needs as a result of Covid-19. Virtual showrooms will be available so that buyers are able to place orders and pre-orders could be taken by emerging designers, who may need this to cover the cost of production. It appears hat the intended focus of the platform is to create an effective community which will help retailers, press and designers throughout market week. The CFDA has also partnered with the wholesale e-commerce platform NuOrder. This partnership will also include a spotlight to support rising talent and designers of colour.
Runway360 will be a seasonless platform, and has not only been created in response to social distancing and travel restrictions. CFDA intends the platform to serve as a permanent fixture all year round for press, trade, retailers and consumers from around the world. Kolb also hopes that this “innovative business tool” will strengthen the impact of American fashion in the global economy.
By Sophie Easton