An Open Letter To the Organizers Of Fashion’s Night Out
We heard today that you’ve decided to throw another edition of FNO in September 2012. Congratulations on making up your collective mind! Now what can we do to change it?
We ask because, and maybe you don’t know this about us, we’re starting to get tired of your little multinational smorgasborg of shopping and celebrities and free drinks and canapes and discounts and everything else you offer on this retail holiday you wove into existence out of thin air. And that’s not because the event isn’t fun for the scores of people all over the world who participate in it, and not because it doesn’t make for some interesting story opportunities. We’re tired because we simply do not need this event anymore, and carrying on as though we do is starting to wear on us.
The world is in a much different place today than it was when started FNO over three years ago. Back then people really did need a fire lit under their ass to shop — the recession had turned people without money into paupers and people with money into cash-hoarding spendthrifts who didn’t even want to look at the windows at Bergdorfs, much less walk inside and plonk down a few thousand on whatever was featured in them.
But with time, that’s changed. Luxury brands, which participated heavily in the first three editions of FNO, are now selling more overpriced crap than they ever were before, and consumer confidence has bounced back into unexpectedly happy territory. Sure, there are protests about wealth inequality in every part of the country, and there are several European economies on the brink of recession right now. But in spite of it all, people (even in the United States) are still buying things.
Except on FNO, that is. After the last round, more than a few merchants said that FNO had no impact on their bottom lines — a few even complained about losing money from having to hire entertainment and pass around free champagne and food and offer discounts designed to get people to shop. Which, ironically, didn’t really happen. Why fight with crowds on a Thursday night when you can shop during your lunch hour on Friday? (And who actually can shop when you’re busy gawking at half the cast of Gossip Girl or an impromptu performance by Nicki Minaj at the Yves Saint Laurent store?)
We get that it’s important for the world to look to you as a group of people who can do something fantastic. But the fact is, you’ve already done what you set out to do: You successfully got people back into the stores. And instead of planning another edition of what we’re afraid to say is a useless party, why not pat yourselves on the back and focus on the things the fashion industry needs right now? We still need a replacement for John Galliano, we need a solution for this Fashion Week scheduling mishegoss, and we definitely need to keep attracting young and talented people to jobs in fashion. But we can’t do those things if we’re coordinating a worldwide street fair, now can we?
At this point, you don’t even know when you’re going to schedule FNO 2012 (which we’ve already code named Retail Scream 4), what with Paris Fashion Week’s sponsors acting all petulant about being “last on the fashion calendar,” or whatever. So take some time, think it over, and let us know what you think. There’s absolutely no shame in quitting while you’re ahead, but there’d be a whole lot of it in letting this event spin way out of your control. But no matter what you decide, we’re not coming out this time. We’ll be at home, sitting on our couch, eating salt and vinegar chips and not shopping.*
Can’t wait to hear from you!
*Editor’s Note: Don’t actually hold us to that. Poetic license, etc.