NYC retailers and organizations collaborate for fashion cause

NEW YORK: Vogue, NYC & Co., and the Council for Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) have come together for Fashion's Night Out, a global initiative tasking fashion retailers to devise special promotions for the evening of September 10th, the first day of New York Fashion Week.

NEW YORK: Vogue, NYC & Co., and the Council for Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) have come together for Fashion's Night Out, a global initiative tasking fashion retailers to devise special promotions for the evening of September 10th, the first day of New York Fashion Week.

The promotion is about “creating a positive experience and getting people to want to shop again,” said Steven Kolb, executive director at the CFDA.

The organizations are leveraging their unique access to various resources such as celebrities, designers, and retailers, to assist participating outlets with their promotions. They're also working together on a media relations and social media effort to generate consumer awareness.

"During an economic recession... the industry, which is one of our largest in New York City and a major supplier of jobs, needs to make sure the rest of the world and its visitors understand what fashion is about," said Kimberly Spell, SVP of public affairs at NYC & Company, which is the city's tourism marketing arm.

The organization is reaching out to local retailers - most of which Spell notes are NYC & Co. members – and media, and is working with its 18 international tourism offices on promoting the effort globally.

"We're making sure [the campaign] is represented throughout the city at all price points," said Spell. “We act as a PR agency working closely with Vogue and [Vogue editor] Anna [Wintour's] group to blow this out with earned media.”

She added, “Our goal is to get coverage across all mediums, including non-news journalists, also bloggers and entertainment writers.”

NYC & Co. is also working on the logo and structure of the campaign's Web site, fashionsnightout.com, and will continue to leverage its relationship with Mayor Bloomberg who announced the campaign last Wednesday with Wintour, Kolb, and NYC & Co. CEO George Fertitta, explained Spell.

She said a social media effort is in the works and could not yet disclose details.

In the meantime, the CFDA, which works with its AOR, KCD Worldwide, is tasking design partners to make personal appearances at stores that carry their brands, as well as offering suggestions for promotional strategies and activities to designers with their own stores. “The idea is to bring added value to the product and experience,” said Kolb.

For example, he explained, Diane Von Furstenberg, designer and president of the CFDA, may be working at Saks that night; Rachel Roy is talking about bringing a graffiti artist into a pop-up store concept; Philip Lim might do something with live music; and one of the retailers' concepts might involve an opportunity for consumers to have their photo taken by a celebrity photographer.

“[Vogue editor] Anna [Wintour] will be out and about that night,” he added. “She'll be in the stores leading the way.”

Additionally, the organizations are promoting the sale of a limited edition T-shirt supporting the National September 11 Memorial & Museum and a clothing drive benefiting the New York City AIDS Fund.

Lynn Rasic, SVP of public affairs at the museum, said her team is working with the organizations and retailers on promoting the shirt, and is reaching out to its own network, including an e-mail database with 90,000 people.

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