February will bring another round of flashbulb-popping fashion weeks in major cities around the world but, as usual, something will be missing: the intimates industry.
Sure, some womenswear labels include lingerie pieces in their seasonal showcases, and others routinely pillage the collections of luxury lingerie brands to accessorize their own runway shows.
But that’s hardly the same thing as giving the lingerie industry the dedicated spotlight it truly deserves.
That oversight will be corrected next month with the launch of the first Lingerie Fashion Week in New York City.
Up to 10 runway shows featuring the Fall 2013 collections of individual brands will be staged at the Metropolitan Pavilion on W. 18th Street in Chelsea. The event will run from Thursday, Feb. 21 through Saturday, Feb. 23, with the catwalk events spread over the final two days.
“We want this to be something buzz-generating, a platform for brands needing a press launch,” said organizer Lauren Rich of Rich PR, who envisioned Lingerie FW as a way to fill a conspicuous gap in fashion marketing.
According to recent data, U.S. spending on intimate apparel and hosiery surged to $14 billion in 2011, with growth outpacing the rest of the fashion world. Much of that growth is attributed to the luxury segment, the teen market and a proliferation of new brands, styles and market niches.
“It is safe to say intimate apparel has successfully staked its claim as a power player in the greater fashion industry, and as such deserves a high visibility, influential platform to collectively give its growing force of brands their due voice,” said Rich, who worked in the womenswear industry before launching her own agency to focus on lingerie brands several years ago.
“Now more than ever, there’s such an incredible push happening in lingerie, especially in America. We don’t see any reason why these lingerie brands can’t be reaching the consumer.”
So far, Lingerie FW has lined up a mix of established and emerging designer labels, including UK superstar Nichole De Carle London (below) and the big American brands Affinitas and Parfait. Newer labels heading for the runway at LFW include Rouge Seduire, Nais and Nevaeh Intimates.
“All encompass the elements that make a brand ideal for this stage: beautiful, quality product, fashion forward branding, media-conscious marketing, innovative thinking,” Rich said. “We are honored to have their collections showcased on our runways, and look forward to creating a top-tier Fashion Week experience for each.”
Lingerie FW is primarily a press event, intended to attract the major New York fashion press and generate the kind of headlines (and devoted followers) that coincide with couture fashion weeks around the world. And the ultimate goal: “To make lingerie and intimates designers household names, just as their womenswear counterparts are,” Rich said.
The question of scheduling the first Lingerie Fashion Week was a critical one for organizers, given the heavy schedule of fashion weeks in February. They looked at positioning it after Paris (Feb. 26-March 6) or in tandem with New York (Feb. 7-14), but eventually decided to host the event immediately before New York’s Curve Expo lingerie industry trade show, which runs from Feb. 24-26, and related industry events around the city that week.
“Lingerie Fashion Week is completely different from a trade show,” Rich said. “Our target audience is the press. But buyers and retailers are welcome to attend. For many buyers it will make sense to come in early for the fashion show, see the collections, then meet the brands at the trade show.”
An opening reception will be held on the first day of Lingerie FW. There will also be a plug-in lounge and a sponsor lounge where, among other things, guests can get a free makeover courtesy of The Temple, a Paul Mitchell Academy.
Lingerie Fashion Week is open to worldwide brands in lingerie, loungewear, sleepwear, shapewear, hosiery, solutions and accessories. You can learn more by contacting organizers at email@example.com.