When Is Fashion Week?

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What to watch, where to watch it, where to buy it
and what the heck is going on.


June 11, 2020

From shows to shopping to seasons to supply chains, the coronavirus has meant the end of the fashion world as we knew it. Instead we’re about to get movies! And playlists! And a lot less stuff! Here’s everything you need to know about what is happening next, updated with new information as it evolves.

Formerly known as London Fashion Week: Men’s, this is now an all-gender digital event that will encompass virtual showrooms, short films and designer Q. and A.’s. Here is a curtain raiser on what to expect, and highlights of what to watch. The event can be viewed on or by using the hashtag #LFWreset. Published content will then stay online, with plans to make this new Netflix-style platform a continuing resource and archive for the London fashion scene.

  • A star of the Friday lineup will be Nicholas Daley. Men’s wear presentations by Mr. Daley, a 2020 LVMH Prize finalist, tend to be full of laughter, live music and bright, bespoke textiles. At 12:10, he is presenting a film of his fall 2020 show, accompanied by a new playlist.

  • A one-time wunderkind turned éminence grise who always speaks his mind, Hussein Chalayan will take part in a live interview at 5 p.m. on Friday. At 6 p.m. Marques’ Almeida, the women’s wear label, will show a documentary that goes behind the scenes of the making of a capsule collection during a pandemic.

  • For early weekend risers, Bianca Saunders, a rising star of London men’s wear, is introducing a zine on Saturday, at 11.30 a.m. Later on, Charles Jeffrey will be livestreaming one of his infamous Loverboy parties at 7 p.m., followed by a D.J. set from the club favorite Fat Tony, a Kate Moss BFF who also runs a cracking Instagram meme account. It is Saturday night, after all.

  • On Sunday morning at 11:20, tune in for a film from the Alexander McQueens and Stella McCartneys of the future: students from the Central Saint Martins class of 2021. Then round out the day with a film by the milliner Stephen Jones on his spring-summer 2021 collection and a video diary by Roksanda.

While the physical version of the immense Pitti Uomo men’s wear fair in Florence, Italy, has been postponed until January, a virtual platform called Pitti Connect goes live online at the end of June. It aims to showcase highlights from the 1,200 labels that exhibit there, as well as (we hope) one or two of the always compelling guest designers (Telfar Clemens, Sterling Ruby and Virgil Abloh are alums) that have consistently made this fair the place to watch for trends.

Sadly, the mass migration of fops that make this fair the delight of street-style shutterbugs will be forced from the theatrical proscenium of a piazza outside the 16th-century Fortezza da Basso direct to Instagram. The Scandinavians have been a stealth force here in recent seasons. One insider shortcut is to follow the people followed by @konradolsson, the editor of Scandinavian Man.

The first three days will be digital presentations by couture houses; the following five will be men’s wear.


  • Armani is sitting this one out, waiting to show in January in Milan; Givenchy (it is currently without a designer) is off the schedule, too. Balenciaga, whose return to couture under Demna Gvasalia would have been the most anticipated show of the week, has postponed the debut until January.

  • Dior, however, has committed to being a part of the event, as has Chanel (which already dipped its toes in the digital water with a cruise show in June and is showing July 7) and Iris van Herpen, who is planning a deep dive into virtual reality. Given her long history of understanding the way technology can enable eye-boggling garment design, this is going to be one to watch.

Men’s Wear

  • Historically, Paris is the payoff capital in the men’s wear cycle. If London is about experimentation, New York street energy, Florence emerging trends, Milan commerce (and Prada), Paris is the culmination of all these elements. It is here that the experimentalists (both fledgling and seasoned) like Rei Kawakubo, Rick Owens and Craig Green choose to show, here that big houses with muscular budgets make defining brand statements.

  • The governing body for French fashion has yet to release a schedule, but Kim Jones, the Dior Men designer, confirmed his commitment to a presentation, albeit a digital one, on July 11. Rick Owens, who used the lockdown as an opportunity to amp up his kooky Instagram diary, will also show. “How not totally sure,’’ Mr. Owens said in an email. “But definitely not silent.”

  • To avoid the Epcot Center effect of most digital presentations, Ms. Kawakubo, fashion’s acknowledged thought leader, has elected to showcase all of the labels under the Comme des Garçons umbrella in a video presentation held during Paris Fashion Week, though staged at her headquarters in Tokyo.

The Milan men’s wear shows will move to Sept. 23 to Sept. 28 to piggyback on women’s wear, and they will also be digital. That makes these shows essentially a placeholder for the fall (and next summer, if the old schedule returns, which is still up in the air) and an opportunity for brands to experiment. Think an anything-goes fruit basket of men’s wear, women’s wear, pre-collections and dolphin acts. (Just kidding about the last one.)

  • Dolce & Gabbana is back. Maybe? After decades of ignoring Italian fashion’s governing body and operating outside the system, not to mention a series of recent missteps, including a racist video in China and numerous offensive remarks, the brand will once again be on the Milan schedule. And despite a past in which it was famous for banning journalists (including those from The New York Times) from the shows, it will be open to all. Whether it’s a real reset remains to be seen.

  • Likewise confirmed to take part: Etro, Bottega Veneta and Dsquared. Schedules are pending, but Prada, nimble as always, can be counted on to treat a migration to digital from analog space as merely another artistic challenge.

  • Gucci “Epilogue.” There will be an unveiling on July 17 of what would have been the cruise collection, originally scheduled for May 18 in San Francisco because, Gucci said at the time, the city’s “spirit represents Alessandro Michele’s vision for Gucci: the acceptance of diversity and the right to be oneself.” Instead, this virtual … whatever will effectively mark the end of the old fashion cycle (at least for this brand).

  • Also on the 17th: the Ermenegildo Zegna XXX spring-summer 2021 collection, which the designer Alessandro Sartori has called a “phygital” show. We know, we know — you can’t wait to find out what exactly “phygital” (“physical” + “digital”) looks like.

All of the governing fashion week bodies insist that the September and October shows are going to go ahead as planned, though no one is willing to say what form they’ll take.

  • New York Fashion Week will showcase both men’s and women’s wear shows. So will Milan.

  • Some big brands will be missing:

    Dries Van Noten The designer said he did not expect to embark on a fashion show again until February 2021, although whether he would then plan to show spring in spring, or stick with the traditional rhythm of showing fall-winter six months ahead of time is still unclear.

    Off-White New Guards Group, which owns the license for Off-White, has announced that Off-White will no longer be part of Paris Fashion Week but will instead introduce its next collection, for spring 2021, in stores in February. Thereafter, the company said, “The collections will be organized by monthly installments and will satisfy any commercial need, leaving Virgil Abloh all the creative space he needs.”

  • Potentially showing in some form, but perhaps later in the fall, and not during the official Milan shows: Gucci. But when it does, it will show men’s and women’s wear together.

  • Despite fears of new spikes in virus cases, Florence is laying plans for what the Pitti Uomo organizers called a major event in September. “Physical remains essential in a digital world,” said Raffaello Napoleone, the chief executive of Pitti Immagine, the fair’s governing body.

  • New York Fashion Week: Men, which broke apart well before the coronavirus altered the landscape, promises to be a ragtag affair. A handful of designers will post digital presentations, while others plan to move their online shows to September to conform to the women’s wear schedule.

    The scrappy New York Men’s Day, notable as an incubator of new talents, may yet step unto the breach, with familiar talents like David Hart forgoing his fascinating themed presentations (Blue Note records was the inspiration for one) in favor of a direct-to-consumer collection posted to his website; and Private Policy, notable in the past for politically charged presentations, compiling a digital look book in lieu of a show.

  • Saint Laurent, led by Anthony Vaccarello, plans to “take control of its pace and reshape its schedule,” at least throughout the rest of 2020. (It says it will be back on the official Paris schedule in 2021). What does that actually mean? Who knows! Saint Laurent hasn’t been any more specific than to write that it will “launch its collections following a plan conceived with an up-to-date perspective, driven by creativity.” Well, OK then.


Have shops opened again?

In many of Europe’s major retail hubs, yes. You can shop in Paris and Milan, two cities hit hard by the outbreak. Large shopping areas in Dubai and Tokyo also reopened to the public in early June. Retailers in China and Hong Kong have been up and running for months now.

In the United States, most states and cities have allowed stores to reopen. In Los Angeles, for example, they reopened on May 27. (Nationwide, however, several popular shopping districts have been affected by closures and damage amid the recent protests.)

On June 8, retail stores in New York reopened, but only for order pickups — not browsing. London shops will remain closed until June 15.

OK, but are people actually shopping?

It depends. In China, luxury spending has reportedly rebounded. But in the European cities dependent on Chinese tourists, who haven’t returned in full numbers yet, luxury stores are struggling.

In the United States, it’s a mixed bag. When Georgia reopened in late April, people flocked to stores, restaurants and salons. But newly reopened malls in California have been described as “ghost towns.”

Foot traffic should gradually improve. In April, retail sales fell 16.4 percent, the industry’s largest monthly drop on record; May’s figures, when they are released by the Commerce Department later this month, are expected to look better. (That may not be saying much.)

Are new hygiene rules or standards in place?

Yes. Some rules are mandated by local governments, but others are being implemented, and advertised, by the stores themselves — part of a strategy to “over-communicate” cleanliness to wary shoppers.

Typical measures include increasing store cleanings, enforcing social distancing — with signs or reconfigured store layouts — offering a lot of hand sanitizer and requiring sales associates to wear masks and submit to temperature screenings.

But how will this change the experience of shopping?

You will probably notice the most significant changes at beauty stores or counters. (No touching allowed!) Fitting rooms will likely have reduced availability, and items will go into quarantine after they are tried on. At checkout, phones and tablets may replace registers, and cash will be discouraged or not accepted at all.

You may also notice sales associates hovering more as you shop. High-end retailers in particular are trying to figure out how to nail customer service when their employees have to stand six feet away from customers and cover half of their faces. Super-personalized service is one solution. Everyone is a V.I.P. now.

Stores will likely be emptier for a while — not just because shoppers are spooked but because businesses are limiting occupancy to promote social distancing.

Some stores are also requiring customers to wear face coverings. For more information about a specific store’s policies, it’s best to check its website or call to inquire.

What about sales?

There is a growing movement to reset the sales calendar, so that instead of major markdowns happening in November (or earlier) and May, they will take place according to a more logical seasonal calendar, allowing clothes to be delivered to stores in the months they will be worn, stay on shelves at full price for that time and go on sale only when they are less relevant. Lane Crawford, Saks and Nordstrom have signed open letters committing to this plan.

Giant cruise shows. The planned exercises of one-upsmanship formerly known as cruise, which were adding a third show season to the traditional two — you know, the ones where Louis Vuitton goes to Rio or Dior to Marrakesh and they bring all the bells and whistles and models and V.I.C.s (very important clients) for a three-day shindig and show — were canceled this year, and there are no signs that any company plans to restart them. Gucci publicly committed to only two shows a year, and the C.F.D.A. and B.F.C. came out in favor of the change.

Elizabeth Suzann, a Nashville label known for its devotion to slow fashion and linen sack dresses, closed in April after seven years.

Jeffrey, a wildly influential high-end store in Atlanta, Manhattan and Palo Alto, Calif., opened in New York City in the meatpacking district in 1999 and closed for good in May, by order of Nordstrom, its owners.

The Modist, a luxury fashion e-commerce platform catering to modest dressers, closed in April.

Peter Pilotto, the women’s wear label founded in London by Peter Pilotto and Christopher De Vos, won acclaim for its elegant shapes, digital prints and a cultish celebrity following. They designed Princess Eugenie’s wedding dress last year. But an Instagram post this spring confirmed that they had decided to press “pause” on the brand, for now.

For years, brands and retailers have been racing to prove their green credentials. They recycle (or so they say). And upcycle (at least a little bit). They say they are carbon neutral (or plan to be). Many make lofty promises to be more transparent and socially conscious. But the coronavirus, and the related store closings and economic losses, has raised new questions about the industry’s commitment to sustainability.

Will fewer fashion shows mean less production by the fashion industry?

Although there have been significant delays to the production of collections by luxury fashion houses, most businesses say they still plan to present new offerings later this year. This is despite several proposals from groups of independent designers and executives mooting major changes to runway shows, the fashion calendar and discounting practices.

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  • Frequently Asked Questions and Advice

    Updated June 12, 2020

    • What’s the risk of catching coronavirus from a surface?

      Touching contaminated objects and then infecting ourselves with the germs is not typically how the virus spreads. But it can happen. A number of studies of flu, rhinovirus, coronavirus and other microbes have shown that respiratory illnesses, including the new coronavirus, can spread by touching contaminated surfaces, particularly in places like day care centers, offices and hospitals. But a long chain of events has to happen for the disease to spread that way. The best way to protect yourself from coronavirus — whether it’s surface transmission or close human contact — is still social distancing, washing your hands, not touching your face and wearing masks.

    • Does asymptomatic transmission of Covid-19 happen?

      So far, the evidence seems to show it does. A widely cited paper published in April suggests that people are most infectious about two days before the onset of coronavirus symptoms and estimated that 44 percent of new infections were a result of transmission from people who were not yet showing symptoms. Recently, a top expert at the World Health Organization stated that transmission of the coronavirus by people who did not have symptoms was “very rare,” but she later walked back that statement.

    • How does blood type influence coronavirus?

      A study by European scientists is the first to document a strong statistical link between genetic variations and Covid-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. Having Type A blood was linked to a 50 percent increase in the likelihood that a patient would need to get oxygen or to go on a ventilator, according to the new study.

    • How many people have lost their jobs due to coronavirus in the U.S.?

      The unemployment rate fell to 13.3 percent in May, the Labor Department said on June 5, an unexpected improvement in the nation’s job market as hiring rebounded faster than economists expected. Economists had forecast the unemployment rate to increase to as much as 20 percent, after it hit 14.7 percent in April, which was the highest since the government began keeping official statistics after World War II. But the unemployment rate dipped instead, with employers adding 2.5 million jobs, after more than 20 million jobs were lost in April.

    • Will protests set off a second viral wave of coronavirus?

      Mass protests against police brutality that have brought thousands of people onto the streets in cities across America are raising the specter of new coronavirus outbreaks, prompting political leaders, physicians and public health experts to warn that the crowds could cause a surge in cases. While many political leaders affirmed the right of protesters to express themselves, they urged the demonstrators to wear face masks and maintain social distancing, both to protect themselves and to prevent further community spread of the virus. Some infectious disease experts were reassured by the fact that the protests were held outdoors, saying the open air settings could mitigate the risk of transmission.

    • How do we start exercising again without hurting ourselves after months of lockdown?

      Exercise researchers and physicians have some blunt advice for those of us aiming to return to regular exercise now: Start slowly and then rev up your workouts, also slowly. American adults tended to be about 12 percent less active after the stay-at-home mandates began in March than they were in January. But there are steps you can take to ease your way back into regular exercise safely. First, “start at no more than 50 percent of the exercise you were doing before Covid,” says Dr. Monica Rho, the chief of musculoskeletal medicine at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab in Chicago. Thread in some preparatory squats, too, she advises. “When you haven’t been exercising, you lose muscle mass.” Expect some muscle twinges after these preliminary, post-lockdown sessions, especially a day or two later. But sudden or increasing pain during exercise is a clarion call to stop and return home.

    • My state is reopening. Is it safe to go out?

      States are reopening bit by bit. This means that more public spaces are available for use and more and more businesses are being allowed to open again. The federal government is largely leaving the decision up to states, and some state leaders are leaving the decision up to local authorities. Even if you aren’t being told to stay at home, it’s still a good idea to limit trips outside and your interaction with other people.

    • What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

      Common symptoms include fever, a dry cough, fatigue and difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. Some of these symptoms overlap with those of the flu, making detection difficult, but runny noses and stuffy sinuses are less common. The C.D.C. has also added chills, muscle pain, sore throat, headache and a new loss of the sense of taste or smell as symptoms to look out for. Most people fall ill five to seven days after exposure, but symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days.

    • How can I protect myself while flying?

      If air travel is unavoidable, there are some steps you can take to protect yourself. Most important: Wash your hands often, and stop touching your face. If possible, choose a window seat. A study from Emory University found that during flu season, the safest place to sit on a plane is by a window, as people sitting in window seats had less contact with potentially sick people. Disinfect hard surfaces. When you get to your seat and your hands are clean, use disinfecting wipes to clean the hard surfaces at your seat like the head and arm rest, the seatbelt buckle, the remote, screen, seat back pocket and the tray table. If the seat is hard and nonporous or leather or pleather, you can wipe that down, too. (Using wipes on upholstered seats could lead to a wet seat and spreading of germs rather than killing them.)

    • Should I wear a mask?

      The C.D.C. has recommended that all Americans wear cloth masks if they go out in public. This is a shift in federal guidance reflecting new concerns that the coronavirus is being spread by infected people who have no symptoms. Until now, the C.D.C., like the W.H.O., has advised that ordinary people don’t need to wear masks unless they are sick and coughing. Part of the reason was to preserve medical-grade masks for health care workers who desperately need them at a time when they are in continuously short supply. Masks don’t replace hand washing and social distancing.

    • What should I do if I feel sick?

      If you’ve been exposed to the coronavirus or think you have, and have a fever or symptoms like a cough or difficulty breathing, call a doctor. They should give you advice on whether you should be tested, how to get tested, and how to seek medical treatment without potentially infecting or exposing others.

For the fast fashion sector, it looks to be a different story. As stores closed across Europe and the United States, many retailers canceled orders for clothes, bags and shoes worth billions of dollars from Asian garment factories, forcing them to close and lay off hundreds of thousands of workers.

A few retailers are making new orders, but the long-term survival of Asia’s garment factories is uncertain.

Will the carbon footprint of fashion week be reduced, given that so many are now taking place online?

Yes, for now. Just to attend the ready-to-wear collections, tens of thousands of professionals fly to four countries in a single month. Simple math indicates that the exercise is a veritable bonanza of carbon emissions, and if, as expected, the schedule of runway shows will be vastly reduced in September, so, too, the carbon footprint will come down.

What will happen to the inventory that has not or cannot be sold?

In the world of fashion retailing, in which stores try to keep inventories closely matched to sales, even a small stack of unsold clothes can be a bad sign. Billions of dollars worth of unsold inventory has piled up in warehouses as a result of the pandemic.

According to McKinsey, the value of excess inventory from spring-summer 2020 collections is estimated at 140 billion euros to 160 billion euros ($159 billion to $182 billion) worldwide, between €45 billion and €60 billion ($51 billion to $68 billion) in Europe alone. That is more than double the level in a normal year.

So what will brands and retailers do with it all? Ideally sell it, either by themselves or through wholesale partners, although many consumers will soon be looking for fall clothing. Unsold items used to be burned, though increasingly that practice is frowned upon (just ask Burberry) — and actually outlawed in France.

If the stock doesn’t sell, most businesses will have to slash prices or pass it onto discounters. After that, it could end up in giant landfill sites in developing countries, adding to a huge and existing environmental issue for the fashion industry.

Are fashion seasons still going to be a thing?

Depends who you ask. Many designers are mulling over how they define “season”: Alessandro Michele of Gucci said he is thinking of his collections like pieces of a symphony; Giorgio Armani has announced his couture will be “seasonless”; and at Carolina Herrera and Dries Van Noten (among others) there are discussions about showing spring clothes, at least to the public, in spring, and fall in fall.

Still, most of the luxury powerhouses have stayed quiet in recent weeks, so it’s unclear whether they’re ready to give up the old way of doing things.

Will fashion brands still invest in sustainability in the way they said they would?

The pandemic has put much of the fashion industry into panic mode. After years of carefully investing in corporate and social responsibility policies, many businesses are now fighting to survive.

Inevitably this makes spending on initiatives more difficult, at a time when consumers are more conscious than ever about the values and actions of the brands they buy. Petitions and social media campaigns like #PayUp are attempting to put pressure on brands that have yet to pay for orders produced in countries like Bangladesh. A number of recent reports, including one from the Boston Consulting Group, say that the best way for fashion companies to guarantee their future is by maintaining their environmental and social commitments.

What can I do as a consumer?

  • Do your homework, particularly when it comes to fast-fashion retailers. Research which companies have been treating their workers well and have paid for orders made before the coronavirus outbreak. Look into what companies say about their environmental practices. Note those who don’t say anything at all.

  • Be mindful about what you buy. Think about your relationship with acquisitions. Invest in things you’ll wear for years rather than throwaway looks you wear for one event or post on Instagram.

  • Support independent designers whose futures aren’t certain.

  • Look into resale instead of buying new clothes.

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