Criticisms of Tom Ford as new president of the CFDA concerns his reorganization of the next New York Fashion Week.
After the first changes, Tom Ford was criticized for the new direction adopted for the Spring / Summer 2020 New York Fashion Week.
In March the American designer was elected as the new president of the CFDA, namely the Council of Fashion Designers of America, after a series of rumors that gave him as the favorite. Tom Ford took over from Diane Von Furstenberg, a few months before the scheduled date. Indeed the need to review the New York Fashion Week format guided his early assignment, already anticipated in June.
However, the hoped-for revolution of the Ford era does not seem to have taken place. On the contrary the American designer is criticized for not exploiting the American heritage and for not supporting its new ferment. The criticisms come from the statements of Gary Wassner, advisory member of the CFDA. Gary complains to Tom Ford that he has not acted to help young American newcomers.
A very hard criticism that clashes with Lisa Smilor, executive Vice President of the CFDA, statement when conferring the presidency to Tom Ford. Lisa was confident in Ford’s ability to promote greater global visibility for American designers and into the creation of new and structured opportunities.
Tom Ford actually seems to follow the trend of other worldwide Fashion Weeks, making the event more modern and less static. However NYFW is a particular Fashion Week, different from the editions of Paris and Milan. It is in fact an event more entrepreneurial and less prestigious and showing off. And CFDA has always supported this commercial aspect of American fashion.
American style is made of practicality, comfort, beauty combined with usefulness and more than any other Fashion Week it winks at street style and everyday life. These values are typical of small designers, of those who have most roots in American culture and less in the global fashion world of jet-set. Values that Tom Ford’s NYFW organization does not seem to value.
The reduction in NYFW duration from 7 to 5 days to facilitate buyers and sector journalists was also not read positively.
Fewer days available means fewer opportunities for emerging brands. Fashion catwalks and presentations slots could become prerogative of established brands even more.
Wassner’s critique is deeper than it seems and takes into consideration new ways of selling into fashion sales and distribution. Higher presence of international buyers at NYFW does not guarantee greater export of American creativity.
Indeed global retailers no longer determine the success or not of an emerging brand. Nowadays the battle is fought on local and niche retailers, which Tom Ford’s NYFW organization does not facilitate.
Next edition will already confirm these issues on the future of NYFW and of American designers. NYFW SS20 takes place from 6 to 11 September. Be aware that every major change brings with it even the greatest criticisms. And that the choices of Tom Ford for NYFW could pleasantly amaze us.