Fern Mallis on Fashion Week’s origins

Fern Mallis, currently the senior vice president of IMG Fashion, first organized the early incarnation of Fashion Week as “7th on Sixth” back in 1993, named for the Seventh Avenue (the Fashion District) tent shows at Bryant Park on Sixth Avenue. “I guess I’m somewhat the godmother of Fashion Week. So this is now sixteen years of having created the first organized, centralized, modernized shows in New York.”

 When discussing Fashion Week’s inception, Mallis recalls, “It was Market Week, which is what Fashion Week used to be called. And, typically, if there were fifty shows they were in fifty locations; no two things were ever in the same place. Everybody did their own thing. There was no sense of organizing, no sense of knowing how five hundred people get a taxi from one show to get to the next place and vice versa.”

Regarding the choice of location, Mallis said, “Bryant Park was like the backyard of the fashion industry — it’s the lawn for the industry. And so then the park was under construction and renovation, and we just wound up hiring a freelance show producer to help me put a project together. I went to Paris and Milan that next season to see what everybody else does. And then I got on the phone and started dialing for dollars and got Evian as the first sponsor, then got Anna Wintour from Vogue, then called Harper’s Bazaar and ELLE, and then one thing led to another and we got sponsors, including General Motors at the time.”

It reads like fate, or maybe serendipity, doesn’t it?

(Quotes from Daniel Vosovic’s Fashion Inside Out, 2008).

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Published in: on September 17, 2009 at 7:33 am  Leave a Comment  
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