A blue sweater is never just a blue sweater. Whether you’re a fashion worshiper or your weekly rotation is whatever is the least crumpled from that chair-pile in your bedroom (you know the one)—The Devil Wears Prada, and more specifically Miranda Priestly, taught us our sartorial selection is connected to a long line of calculated choices.
Starting with world renown designers reading the winds of change through to buyers forecasting trends that feel ‘right now’, New York Fashion Week is the first big domino to fall in a succession of actions resulting in what ends up in your closet.
And if you’re a business owner, fashion week is the perfect sneak peek of what consumer demands and must-haves will look like. This includes the latest inescapable it-color—that will be coveted now and into next year.
The runway line-up:
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What is New York Fashion Week?
New York Fashion Week, or NYFW as it is commonly referred to in print, is a biannual event held in February and September of each year in New York City. Combining traditional and non-traditional runway shows, it takes place in and around Manhattan. The week-long series of shows is an opportunity for international fashion collections to be shown to the public and more importantly, buyers and press from around the world. It is one of the “Big Four” fashion weeks along with Paris, London and Milan.
When is New York Fashion Week?
As mentioned earlier, New York Fashion Week happens twice a year in February and September. This fall, NYFW 2023 runs from Thursday September 7th through Wednesday September 13th.
Top trends emerging in 2023
This year, the first of the New York Fashion Weeks landed on February 9-15th, 2023 and showcased a variety of trends that spoke the language—albeit dramatically so—of a “return to normal.”
Feeling somewhat secure that doors are staying open and going out is no longer a fever dream—designers created for our new reality. What’s to come for NYFW 2023 might be a mystery but if the early spring shows are any indication, you can anticipate seeing these five trends on more than a few runways.
Easy being green
You might have been bombarded by Barbie this summer, and more specifically Barbie pink but green is entering the scene. From juicy limes to electric day-glo greens, or what is “unofficially” being referred to as Gen Z green on many a runway, highlighter hues are having a moment. This color is considered a ‘sign of the times’ and is a nod to technology and AI’s influence. So if Barbiecore is not your thing, have no fear because more digitized brights are on the pixelated horizon.
Now you see me
Never nudes beware, the trend for translucent, sheer, and mesh fabrics continues. And now, apparently, it is no longer NSFW. But please don’t quote us, should your HR department contact you. The now-you-see-me, now-you-don’t effect can be used to intriguing effect as a fresh option to layer, as a substitute for texture or add boldness to an otherwise conventional outfit for evening. Illusionist tactics are more than welcome this fall/winter- outside of full on ghosting. That is never fashionable.
Have a knit fit
2020 ushered in the artisanal trend, sometimes falling under the umbrella of ‘twee’, with details of embroidery, crochet and quilting and it seems people have still not had their fill of wovens. Textiles that have a handcrafted touch continue to be popular but it’s no longer a patchy-statement being made. Creative approaches that employ modern technology with old-school techniques serve a broad range of aesthetic outcomes. The most modern incarnations juxtapose hard, futuristic elements with softer craft-core in a way that feels fresh. Think more knotty, less nice.
The 90s returning? As if!
You might be thinking, but aren’t we having a Y2K moment? The answer is, yes. So are the 90s edging in? Yes. If you’ve already lived it, this means digging out and dusting off those overalls, cargo pants and slip dresses. A much more wearable decade than the early aughts, you’ll see styles popularized by the muses of that time: Winona Ryder, Jennifer Aniston, Kate Moss and the Spice Girls. Like all trends, it’s best to approach it with a light touch or risk being asked, “Do you prefer fashion victim or ‘ensembly’ challenged?” (Editor’s Note: Rewatching Clueless is a must.)
Take it to the max
Now that styles have found a middle group between WFH sweats and the reactionary post-pandemic party attire, silhouettes are settling into a happy medium. And that medi turns out to be maxi. Streamlined skirts and body-grazing dresses that end below the knee or are taken to the floor are a trend that will carry into F/W23. So don’t be afraid to go to great lengths this season; long isn’t relegated to after hours.
What to expect at NYFW 2023
This fall, New York Fashion Week will take place at Spring Studios. The opening day will feature heavy-hitters Helmut Lang and Prabal Gurung. Saturday’s standout is Proenza Schouler, which is sadly invite only. However, some shows, including Tadashi Shoji, are open to the public. Iconic brand Ralph Lauren will be making its much anticipated return to NYFW. A NuOrder Lightspeed customer, Ralph Lauren hasn’t hit New York Fashion Week since 2019. The full schedule and line-up can be found here on the official NYFW website. Consider joining the email list to have first access to additional content from the autumn runways.
Many shows will be streamed live and can be viewed online, along with interviews that dig a bit deeper and summarize the key pieces and most wearable garments. For those that can’t attend, look out for publications like Vogue, InStyle and Harper’s Bazaar—as outlets that are reliable sources for zeroing in on versatility and longevity of trends. And no matter the scale of your operations, WGSN and Pantone are two resources to bookmark, as trend touch-points to check in with season to season. Compare a couple of runway round-ups to see what looks are forecasted to have legs as sure to move—from runway to real life.
How can retailers leverage New York Fashion Week?
As a retail owner, there are a variety of approaches to make the most of Fashion Week, even if you’re not a participant. This is a time of year when consumers are excited to be in the know for what’s to come in fashion. As an apparel business, you are perceived as a voice in this space and people will seek out your expertise. Don’t be shy to investigate those trends that speak to your demographic and communicate these through your marketing channels.
Distill what trends seem applicable to your consumers and be creative with incorporating them into your offering. This could mean using the color of the season in your store windows to pull people in from the street with a feeling of newness.
For those that represent a variety of brands, try creating a curated email with the ‘hot’ pieces that echo the direction of the season. You can even test the trend waters by creating a poll on Instagram or TikTok with two different options, for example silhouettes, to see what your customers are most excited to see in-store.
You’re not a fashion victim
As New York Fashion Week 2023 approaches, make an effort to stay in the loop with what the bigger names are putting out on the runway. This knowledge empowers you to approach your buying with an editor’s eye—and to pass along these learning to those that need it to assist your customers. From arming your salespeople with excitement, enthusiasm and insights that support customers, to styling your space in a way that feels modern—your knowledge about major trends in color, fabric, silhouette, shape, pattern and texture means there is no chance you’ll become a fashion victim.
Now go forth. In the words of Miranda Priestly, “That’s all.”