NYFW is certainly looking different this season, but we’re rolling with it. We asked IMG’s Ivan Bart and Leslie Russo to fill us in on what they have planned this season, the models we should be keeping an eye on, and how they’re keeping things safe this week.
Ivan Bart, President, IMG Models & Fashion
What are you most looking forward to this NYFW?
I’m excited to see the creativity and hard work of so many designers come to life this season, especially in the face of adversity. Collections I’m looking forward to in New York include Jason Wu, Christian Siriano, Monse, Studio 189, LaQuan Smith, Kenneth Nicholson, and Maxhosa by Laduma. I’m also excited to see the international collections that will follow after New York, and our talent on the runways across Europe.
What’s new at IMG since we last spoke?
NYFW continues to be the center of many cultural conversations. In the lead up to one of the most important elections in our history, voter registration is crucial and I’m proud that IMG will play a part in Fashion Our Future 2020, engaging underrepresented communities to register to vote through NYFW: The Shows, nyfw.com, and IMG Models talent utilizing their platforms to reach young and first-time voters. There’s never been a more important time than now to get younger generations involved in the political process.
Obviously, safety is at the forefront of all our minds. What is IMG doing to make sure models coming to NYFW will feel safe?
The health and safety of our models always has, and continues to be, our No. 1 priority. I’ve witnessed firsthand how hard our fashion events team has worked to create a comprehensive plan that adheres to the strictest health and safety recommendations, and I have full confidence that NYFW: The Shows will protect the well-being of all participants. During Fashion Week, our focus will be ensuring that all our talent feel comfortable, informed, and prepared to follow all public health guidelines put in place by New York State and by the New York Fashion Week production team.
What models are you excited about this season?
Maty Fall, Alton Mason, Malika Louback, Grace Clover, Shayna McNeill, Precious Lee, Damian Hurley, Taras Romanov, James Turlington, and Parris Goebel. There are so many I’m excited about this season!
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How have you stayed optimistic in the past few months?
Going for long walks while I’m on conference calls, bike rides, cooking at home with my husband; using technology to connect with friends, colleagues, and loved ones has kept me sane. I miss the in-person collaboration and the events, but the IMG team has managed to sustain the celebratory nature of our business while working remotely. We’re keeping the passion for fashion alive through our twice-daily video calls, sharing inspiration, continuing to check in on one another and our clients, and making sure we’re taking the time to celebrate special moments, like birthdays, work anniversaries, and other personal achievements.
Leslie Russo, Head of IMG’s Fashion Events
Why was it important for NYFW to carry on in some capacity?
COVID-19 has imposed tremendous challenges for the industry, but we view NYFW: The Shows as a crucial event to maintain—albeit in an evolved format—both to support the myriad professionals who work in fashion, and to support designer’s businesses. NYFW is more than “a week.” It really signals the beginning of a season of the global consumer consumption of fashion. We felt it was important that we show up to give American-based fashion brands—and the innumerable other professionals who work in or adjacent to the fashion industry—solutions in order to be able to get back to business in the way they best see fit.
What will NYFW look like this season?
We’re working to marry physical and digital elements through our official NYFW: The Shows footprint, offering flexible spaces, including a showroom and content studio, live outdoor space, and more virtual programming on our fashion OTT, nyfw.com—all packaged with the top-of-the-line production value you’d expect from an Endeavor production. We will continue with our cultural conversations via our NYFW: BTS franchise.
What has been the biggest hurdle this season?
Our biggest hurdle was planning for the season in the wake of a lot unknowns and uncharted territory. We are thankful for Governor Cuomo’s support and guidance on how to return to work safely this season. Our team worked tirelessly to take on the task of providing a safe infrastructure in order to relieve designers from having to work through that themselves. In a season when there’s so much added stress for a designer, we’ve assumed all of the health and safety risks and taken that off their plate.
Who are this year’s partners of Fashion Week?
You always remember who supports you in tough times. We were so pleased to see our lead partners return this season in their support of the American fashion industry and the fashion customer: BMW of North America, Visa, TRESemmé, Perrier, Alibaba Group’s Tmall, Mionetto, and our official media partner, E! These partners have been invaluable in their support of designers in their choice to participate in reimagined, hybrid formats. Lowe’s is a new special project partner who stepped up with inventive resources and ways to reach new audiences at home.
What are some of the events lined up this year?
Some examples of ways we are supporting designers this season include an in-season collection experience with Monse; socially distant runway shows with Jason Wu, Christian Siriano, and Rebecca Minkoff; a photo shoot in our onsite content hub with Christian Cowan; and a panel conversation with LENS talent and Proenza Schouler; and a screening of the new documentary House of Cardin. This will all be broadcast virtually on our nyfw.com site and mobile app.
Visit NYFW.com for more details!