New York Fashion Week has arrived, and with the Spring 2014 collections set to hit the runways on Thursday, we're kicking off our celebrations by getting our hands on any insider industry information we can find. To that end, we've compiled the most surprising New York Fashion Week facts we've come across to-date.
From the storied history, to the models, to the staggering financial figures, here's everything you never knew about the industry's most famous tradition — but should.
New York City needs Fashion Week, financially speaking.
According to the <a href="http://www.nycedc.com/blog-entry/new-york-fashion-week-2012" target="_blank">New York City Economic Development Corporation</a>, Fashion Week generates an estimated $532 million in direct visitor spending annually, which translates to $865 million in total economic impact.
You can’t buy tickets.
Because space is so tight, New York Fashion Week tickets typically only go to celebrities, editors and fashion industry insiders. If you’re not one of those people (or one of their friends or family members), you can sometimes get in by <a href="http://fashion.whatitcosts.com/fashion-week-pg2.htm" target="_blank">booking a special package through a hotel or credit card company</a> well in advance. Or, you can <a href="http://newyorkfashionweeklive.com/" target="_blank">livestream</a> many of the shows online.
The same person has been in charge of NYFW's official calendar for 65 years.
<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/09/opinion/sunday/a-fashion-week-miscellany.html" target="_blank">Ruth Finley</a> has been compiling all of of New York Fashion Week's events into one comprehensive guide — from the runway shows themselves, to after parties, and more recently, livestreams — since 1945. Among the most powerful figures in the industry, <a href="http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203646004577213553872295964.html" target="_blank">Ruth acts as the mediator</a> for scheduling conflicts between designers, convincing them to move their shows around so that in-demand models are available for booking and top fashion editors are available to attend. A subscription to her <a href="http://www.fashioncalendar.net/" target="_blank">Fashion Calendar</a> costs $450 per year.
Not all Fashion Week models are under the age of 30.
In fact, the oldest model to walk in last September’s New York Fashion Week was an octogenarian. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/08/carmen-dell-orefice-you-magazine-photo_n_3560662.html" target="_blank">Carmen Dell’Orefice</a>, 82, <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/entertainment/2012/09/model-carmen-dellorefice-81-stuns-at-n-y-fashion-week/" target="_blank">walked in two New York runway shows</a> last year. And she’s not even the oldest working model in the industry; <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/16/daphne-selfe-model_n_3769503.html" target="_blank">Daphne Selfe</a> is 85 years old and recently shot a campaign for TK Maxx, the British version of TJ Maxx.
You can tell it's NYFW by the style of the strut.
Runway models actually <a href="http://www.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,2016750,00.html#ixzz2bnOGl3CA" target="_blank">walk differently depending on the city</a>. In New York City, models generally walk in a quick, staccato style, whereas Paris Fashion Week models move more slowly and smoothly.
Runways are designed to accommodate the number of VIPs in attendance — not the other way around.
<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/09/opinion/sunday/a-fashion-week-miscellany.html" target="_blank">U-Shaped runways were developed</a> to increase the <a href="http://www.vanityfair.com/online/daily/2010/02/who-sits-where-at-fashion-week-and-why" target="_blank">number of seats in the front row</a>, in order to create more room for VIPs to attend.
Google Glass will be hitting up the tents this season.
Marie Claire creative director and “Project Runway” judge Nina Garcia <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/10/nina-garcia-google-glass-photo_n_3736687.html" target="_blank">will be the first editor to cover NYFW through Google Glass</a>; her images and videos from behind the scenes will be posted live to Marie Claire’s social media feeds.
Designers pay for their own fashion shows — and those catwalks don't come cheap.
At Lincoln Center, the cost of just <a href="http://www.nbcnewyork.com/blogs/threadny/THREAD-Daily-Context-What-a-Fashion-Show-Actually-Costs.html" target="_blank">renting the venue ranges from around $15,000 to $50,000</a>. And that doesn't include the cost of hiring stylists, makeup artists, hair stylists, and everything else that goes into making a runway show look effortless.