Updated: May 22, 2019
Twice a year, September and February, thousands of photographers, models, editors, publicists, bloggers, makeup artists, hairstylists, pour in to New York City from all over the globe to attend one of the most hectic, yet, glamorous, trade shows in the world - New York Fashion Week.
While you may have dreamed of attending shows since you first laid eyes on your favorite fashion personality perched front row at the hottest designer show, here are 15 facts about New York Fashion Week that you probably didn't even know.
1. Roughly 125,000 people attend New York Fashion Week annually.
2. Over 2 million people livestreamed NYFW in one season of shows.
3. Fashion Week generates $532 million in direct visitor spending per year.
With a total economic impact of $865 million each year according to the New York City Economic Development Corp.
4. Only 53 of the 150 journalists invited bothered to attend the first New York "Fashion Press Week" that took place in 1943.
The first fashion press event was organized by publicist Eleanor Lambert to dethrone Paris as the fashion capital of the world.
As an honorable mention, the first fashion show held in New York was in 1903 at the Ehrich Brother department store.
5. "New York Fashion Week" began in 1993
NYFW was organized by the Executive Director of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, Fern Mallis. The event was branded "7th on Sixth".
6. Beginning in 1993, The Tents at Bryant Park was NYFW's home, but in 2010 relocated to Lincoln Center.
7. Since 2015, NYFW has been headquartered at Skylight Clarkson Square.
However, beginning with New York Fashion Week: Men's in January 2018, shows will no longer be stationed at Skylight Clarkson Square according to WWD.
8. The "New York Fashion Week" discussion is mostly focalized on the IMG shows and other large productions by established designers.
During NYFW there's also the more avant-garde Made Fashion Week, Kia Style360 featuring celebrity designers, and, new this season, NYFW First Stage for global designers debuting in the U.S.
9. NYFW is experiencing an "Identity Crisis"
Originally an invite-only trade show for designers to show their collections to buyers and press, currently, brands at NYFW face the challenge of creating consumer-facing strategies like see-now buy-now and showing fall clothes in fall instead of 9-months ahead for the retail buying season.
Many designers are leaving New York for cities that more closely fit their market strategy. Rebecca Minkoff and Tommy Hilfiger have decamped for Los Angeles. While Thom Browne, Proenza Schouler, Rodarte, and Altuzarra are heading to Paris, though, "off-calendar."
10. The average front row at New York Fashion Week holds 130 seats.
Not nearly enough to go around. Some editors have been known to resort to slapping publicists in the absence of a front row immolation in their honor.
11. Many celebs are paid to attend and sit front row.
Upwards of $100,000 for an A-list celeb and $5,000 can get you a buzzy Reality TV star.
Good luck getting celebs to come out in frigid February.
12. As a model, being the first one out, b.k.a. "opening the show", is a big effin deal.
Models new to the industry can achieve what seems like overnight success opening for one of the big shows like Calvin Klein or Marc Jacobs as it is seen as a huge endorsement from the designer.
13. Arguably more important than opening the show, is closing the show.
The last model to walk out, sometimes hand-in-hand with the designer, is often referred to as the designer's Muse - either by the designer, or by assumption.
14. New York Fashion Week is the first of a month of fashion collections shown in the Big Four cities.
NYFW is first, followed by London, Milan, and ending in Paris.
15. NYFW is the biggest hit online.
Google searches “fashion week,” - a term used even in non-English-speaking fashion cities like Milan and Paris - skyrocket in the first two weeks of September and then trail off just as the European fashion shows begin.