Oct 31, 2009

Fashion's Night Out Will Continue in 2010

The success of Fashion’s Night Out in September not only united the retail community in New York,  it made people forget momentarily about the recession, encouraged consumers to go out and shop, and packed the streets with people who flocked to Madison Avenue in hopes of spotting celebrities who were out to celebrate the cause. More than 1,000 people crammed around the second-floor escalators at the Macy’s in Queens Center to catch a glimpse of Anna Wintour, Diane Von Furstenberg, Kate Hudson and Michael Kors among others. Donna Karan and the Olsen twins made appearances at Bergdorf Goodman, Justin Timberlake was at Saks Fifth Avenue, and Gwen Stefani made a special guest appearance at Bloomingdale’s. More than 700 stores in New York held parties and kept their doors open until 11 p.m. Similar events intended to encourage shopping were being held in Paris, Milan and other cities around the world.

Fashion’s Night Out was so successful that sponsors including Vogue Magazine, the CFDA, Mayor Bloomberg and NYC & Co. plan to do it again in 2010. “The numbers are in, and it’s clear that Fashion’s Night Out was a tremendous success,” Bloomberg said. Anna Wintour agreed, “We were absolutely bowled over by the response to Fashion’s Night Out. It was only 15 minutes after the event began, and we were getting reports about lines around the block at stores throughout the city. It was wonderful to see people embrace this initiative, and we are thrilled that they wish it to return.” CFDA president Diane von Furstenberg added, “To have designers in stores to celebrate and start a shopping season is the best idea for everybody. It creates excitement and lots of business.”

Women’s Wear Daily reports that according to an independent study by ShopperTrak, foot traffic in stores jumped by 50 percent that night. Meanwhile, NYC & Co., the marketing, tourism and partnerships organization of the city, conducted a survey of 1,300 shoppers and concluded that 75 percent of them bought something that night. The survey also found two-thirds of those consumers visited stores they have never been to before, and 61 percent ventured out of their comfort zones, going to neighborhoods outside of their work and living areas. Saks Chairman and CEO Stephen Sadove told Women's Wear Daily,  "There are a lot of lessons to be learned from Fashion's Night Out. We had no idea if it was going to work. We had 40,000-50,000 people show up in the store that day."

Since Fashion’s Night Out many retailers have been meeting with the mayor and other city officials to ensure that a repeat of the event is in the works for 2010. Some retailers are pressing to make the next Fashion Night Out sales tax free. There is also a proposal to stage a fashion show for consumers at Lincoln Center. Like the first installment the 2010 Fashion’s Night Out will extend to the city’s five boroughs and include international cities such as London, Paris, Milan, Moscow, Berlin, Madrid, Athens, New Delhi, Taipei, Tokyo and Beijing.

Photo:Gary Gershoff/Getty Images North America
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