New York Fashion Week is one of the largest events in the fashion world. It’s hard to imagine a world where the Big Four events in fashion didn’t exist (Milan, Paris, New York, and London Fashion Week). Believe it or not, this time was not very long ago. While the official “start” year of New York Fashion Week (NYFW) is up for debate, you can walk through the history to decide for yourself. We provide a brief timeline of how NYFW came to be.
1903: The first known U.S. based fashion show
The first known U.S. based fashion show was thought to be held at the Ehrich Brothers department store in New York City. This, to some, is known as the origin of New York Fashion Week. It laid the groundwork for the popularity American clothing would find. Up until this point, and for a while after, most style and fashion in the U.S. came straight from Europe. The high fashion community just did not celebrate American style.
1943: The first seasonal gathering of fashion shows, “Press Week”
The year of 1943 is when most people agree NYFW began. Founded by Eleanor Lambert, the press director of the American fashion industry’s first promotional organization, “Press Week” was the first time a collection of seasonal fashion shows took place. While this is widely accepted as the start of NYFW, people still debate over it because it was not yet called NYFW.
The 1950s: U.S. fashion rose to popularity for the first time
Up until the mid to late 1950s, Paris was always the inspiration for U.S. fashion. A lot of people still did not pay much attention to American designers. This changed, however, during wartime when Paris and the rest of France became more closed off to the rest of the world. This opened a window for American designers to show off their talent. Press Week was suddenly flooded with local designers and the rest of the world began to take notice.
The 1970s: Clothing and venues began to shift
After the U.S. gained popularity in the fashion world, clothing and style became more and more influenced by American social trends. During the 1970s Press Week shifted away from the traditional store and stage venues and toward unique spots such as an art gallery, restaurant, or even a boho dress boutique.
1993: The first organizationally grouped seasonal fashion shows, “7th on Sixth Street”
Many see this event as the official first NYFW. That’s because it was the first time an organization put on the seasonal fashion shows, meaning it had sponsors. The CFDA dubbed the event “7th on Sixth Street” and held all the fashion shows in that area.
The 1990s: “New York Fashion Week,” was first used to describe the seasonal fashion shows
The 1990s was the first decade when everyone began referring to the fashion shows as New York Fashion Week. They wanted to follow in the footsteps of London, which called their version the London Fashion Week since 1984.
All of this history led up to what we know today as New York Fashion Week, an event that influences fashion on a worldwide scale. At Home Folk, fashion trends such as those shown on the runway drive the collections we create. From dresses and skirts to jeans and sweaters, we have all the pieces you need to curate a fashionable wardrobe.