Though the global pandemic has interfered with pretty much everything, people are consistently adapting and adopting new ways to continue with important traditions, occasions, and events. One such example of the perseverance and ingenuity of humanity materialized on September 13, 2020: New York Fashion Week (NYFW). Running from September 13-17, New York Fashion Week kicked off fashion month, which encompasses fashion events in London, Milan, and Paris as well. And this year, everything about New York Fashion Week September 2020 was different, not just the looks lining the runways. Learn how the style extravaganza switched up its appearance in order to carry on in the face of catastrophe.

Fashion Shows from Afar: New York Fashion Week September 2020 Events

To adhere to social distancing guidelines and preserve the health of everyone in the industry, New York Fashion Week September 2020 took various approaches to fashion shows. Strategies for showcasing fashion without showing up in person included live streams, digital programming, lookbooks, closed sets, and physical shows with limited audiences.

Fashion Show Live Streams

The majority of designers who chose to participate in NYFW streamed their shows live on These designers included Tadashi Shoji, Anna Sui, Nicole Miller, Ulla Johnson, Badgley Mischka, Alice + Olivia, and Christian Siriano.

Digital Programming for New York Fashion Week

The New York Fashion Week website also introduced a series of talks throughout the week. A selection of designers, models, curators, writers, and other industry celebrities hosted these talks whose topics ranged from fashion’s power to create change and mentoring the next generation of designers to creating in isolation and becoming a model citizen. also features additional videos of panels, workshops, talks, exclusive screenings, and fashion films.

The site also shares exclusive virtual experiences with members. These experiences incorporate virtual meet-and-greets, viewing parties, and more. A few designers will keep the Spring 2021 collections coming via the internet after Fashion Week concludes. Eckhaus Latta, Coach, and Michael Kors are among them.

Furthermore, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) also broadcast the virtual events on their digital platform RUNWAY360. The site contains information, images, and video footage of past, present, and future collections and runway shows.

Fashion Show Lookbooks

Several designers who opted out of traditional runway shows displayed their collections via the standard lookbook instead. These designers released photo collections of their lines throughout the week on Lookbook utilizers comprised Markarian, Marchesa, Rodarte, Maisie Wilen, Claudia Li, New York Men’s Day, Cynthia Rowley, Theophilio, and Theory.

Closed Sets for New York Fashion Week

The Spring Studios showroom served as the locale for the Black In Fashion Council, a group of industry stakeholders, editors, media executives, freelance creatives, models, stylists, and assistants working to invade the fashion industry with inclusivity. At New York Fashion Week September 2020, the Black In Fashion Council consisted of Apotts, Kenneth Nicholson, Theophilio, and Undra Celeste.

Physical New York Fashion Shows

Organizers held most of the physical events outside on the terrace of Spring Studios. Jason Wu was the first designer to work the space when he debuted his Spring-Summer 2021 collection on September 13. Other designers who took over the terrace included Bronx and Banco, Rebecca Minkoff, and LaQuan Smith.

Jason Wu fostered social distancing with his outdoor show by reducing the number of attendees from about 300 to just 36 and positioning the seating at least six feet apart. Furthermore, when not stomping down the runway designed to evoke a tropical island, the models wore branded masks. And hair and makeup was also outfitted for safety, as hairstylists wore masks, makeup artists wore face shields, and plexiglass panels divided the work stations.

Virtual Commemorations of Exceptional Fashion: New York Fashion Week September 2020 Awards

Harlem’s Fashion Row Style Awards 2020

Harlem’s Fashion Row, a platform supporting designers of color in order to advocate diversity in fashion, fully embraced the digital side of Fashion Week by presenting a virtual compilation of collections from Black designers. Additionally, the organization also celebrated its 13th annual Style Awards and fashion show event.

The theme for this year’s event was “Black is the New Black,” and the awards honored founder Brandice Daniel as well as British Vogue’s editor in chief Edward Enninful, Teen Vogue’s editor in chief Lindsay Peoples Wagner, Kerby Jean-Raymond of Pyer Moss, and publicist Nate Hinton. Furthermore, the fashion show highlighted the work of designers such as Kimberly Goldson, Richfresh, and Kristian Lorén.

CFDA Fashion Awards 2020

New York Fashion Week September 2020 also marked the 2020 CFDA Fashion Awards. Originally planned as the June 8th in-person CFDA awards gala, this year’s Fashion Awards were postponed until September 14 and restricted solely to the web. For this reason, chairman of the CFDA Board Tom Ford announced the award winners via video. The video appeared on the CFDA website, RUNWAY360, and the CFDA’s social channels.

The 2020 CFDA Fashion Award nominees and winners in each category were:

  • American Womenswear Designer of the Year
    • Winner: Gabriela Hearst
    • Other Nominees: Tom Ford, Ashley Olsen and Mary-Kate Olsen for The Row, Brandon Maxwell, Marc Jacobs
  • American Menswear Designer of the Year
    • Winner: Kerby Jean-Raymond for Pyer Moss
    • Other Nominees: Tom Ford, Emily Adams Bode for Bode, Thom Browne, Todd Snyder
  • American Accessories Designer of the Year
    • Winner: Telfar Clemens for Telfar
    • Other Nominees: Ashley Olsen and Mary-Kate Olsen for The Row, Gabriela Hearst, Jennifer Fisher for Jennifer Fisher Jewelry, Stuart Vevers for Coach
  • American Emerging Designer of the Year
    • Winner: Christopher John Rogers
    • Other Nominees: Kenneth Nicolson, Peter Do, Reese Cooper, Sarah Staudinger and George Augusto for Staud
  • International Women’s Designer of the Year
    • Winner: Pierpaolo Piccioli for Valentino
    • Other Nominees: Daniel Lee for Bottega Veneta, Dries Van Noten, Miuccia Prada, Rick Owens
  • International Men’s Designer of the Year
    • Winner: Kim Jones for Dior
    • Other Nominees: Craig Green, Dries Van Noten, Jonathan Anderson for Loewe, Virgil Abloh for Louis Vuitton

According to Ford and the CFDA website, the CFDA Fashion Awards began in 1981, and the 2020 winners represented the most diverse group of recipients in the awards’ 39-year history. The CFDA Awards Guild, composed of over 1,500 CFDA members, leading fashion journalists, stylists, and top retail executives, determines the nominees and selects the winners.

Pros of Focusing on Fashion During a Pandemic: New York Fashion Week September 2020 Successes

As mentioned, the production of New York Fashion Week September 2020 differed greatly from any other NYFW since the event’s commencement in 1943.

In the past, the typical runway show took place indoors, and the venue was packed with spectators. What’s more, these fashion shows generated job opportunities for thousands of individuals. Yet, in recent years, many designers have felt burnt out by the number of annual fashion shows. And of course, this year, the global pandemic has instituted an abundance of restrictions on the sartorial proceedings. Therefore, the future of fashion shows is uncertain.

But, by pressing on and exercising innovation to sustain the fashion shows this year, NYFW made some notable accomplishments.

Increased Environmental Sustainability

For one, the trend among designers to take their shows online with videos, lookbooks, and other digital experiences rendered NYFW more sustainable. Normally, international fashion weeks produce an excess of pollution, according to CNN’s explanation of a recent Ordre report. Ordre found that a year’s worth of fashion weeks emits the same volume of greenhouses gases as a small country. Consequently, eliminating most of the physical activities of Fashion Week has definitely been better for the earth.

Dislodged Industry Pecking Order

The removal of the usual brand hierarchies is another benefit of transferring NYFW to an online venue. Digital formatting levels the playing field between new brands and established houses, so more emerging designers can get in the game. Specifically, 10 new American brands showed during the September 2020 NYFW, with some focusing on sustainability, inclusivity, and extreme creativity.

Renewed Artistic Encouragement

The chance to indulge strong creative urges is actually the third advantage of NYFW’s timely adjustments. Some offbeat labels that had backed away from the Fashion Week scene have reemerged in order to inspire the industry once more. With their newfound freedom of expression, these brands can discuss the messages close to their hearts through styles and exhibitions that speak to more than just aesthetics.

Conceptual fashion group Imitation of Christ is one such example. This newly revived collective committed to upcycling filmed an LA-based tribe of teenage female skateboards traversing the streets in Imitation of Christ’s wares in order to demonstrate the importance of fighting for equality and justice for all.

Concentrated Efforts to End Racism in Fashion

The health risks of holding heavily populated indoor events earlier in the year forced the CFDA to postpone the Fashion Awards indefinitely. During this waiting period that coincided with the increasing awareness of racial inequality in America, the CFDA reflected on how they could cultivate Black talent in the fashion community. As a result, they delineated specific initiatives concentrating on the goal of ending racial injustice in the industry.

Among these initiatives was the formation of a separate Black advisory board. The CFDA tasked this board with managing all CFDA efforts toward inclusivity, diversity, and equality. New CFDA President CaSandra Diggs will lead this board. What’s more, Executive Board Vice Chairwoman Tracy Reese will chair it.

A second measure the CFDA took was appointing Bonnie Morrison to “lead the strategy and execution of CFDA equity program initiatives.” More precisely, Morrison will implement and then support a newly created CFDA task force and talent placement program developed to aid Black creatives and professionals in fashion.

Extended Scholarship Opportunities

Finally, the ability to save money and conserve resources is another unexpected perk of downsizing from full-scale fêtes to technology-based functions. And thankfully, the CFDA allocated its freshly available funds wisely.

The CFDA Fashion Awards is the CFDA’s largest fundraiser for scholarships, and the CFDA Scholar Awards furnishes $25,000 scholarships to fashion students. This year, the program increased its reserves from $100,000 to $175,000. Therefore, the Scholar Awards expanded from four scholarships to seven.

Future of New York Fashion Week: New York Fashion Week September 2020 Influences

Overall, in the wake of an international crisis, New York Fashion Week September 2020 shrewdly reoriented its composition and conducted itself with excellence. The steps taken toward sustainability, artistry, and diversity were uplifting and will hopefully continue into 2021 and beyond.

At Kamisol Style Consultancy, we also champion sustainability, artistry, and diversity. In fact, we have an email series dedicated entirely to tips for building a sustainable wardrobe. In this email series, your style coach Gigi McMillan reveals how easy it is to curate a closet that portrays your authentic identity and promotes a healthy world. To sign up for our sustainable wardrobe email series, just enter your email address on our contact page!

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