Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, underway this week in New York City, underscores the potential benefits of New York's proposed hosting of the 2016 Democratic National Convention. Fashion Week, like Restaurant Week, got its start during New York's hosting of the 1992 Democratic National Convention. Together they continue to promote New York 22 years later, having generated billions of dollars in economic activity for the city.
Fashion Week began as "New York Is Fashion", the first time ever that New York City's major fashion houses came together in one place to show their creations. An enormous tent was pitched in Central Park, and selected convention delegates were invited to be the in-house audience, as the major houses showed their latest work - with world-renowned designers and models all present.
The event was created in order to elevate New York in its competition with Paris and Milan, and it caused such a sensation that it morphed the following year into what is now Fashion Week: first called "Seventh on Sixth", then "Fashion Week" and now "Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week".
"New York is Fashion" was developed in collaboration with New York '92, the public-private partnership that ran New York's hosting of the 1992 Democratic National Convention and that I served as CEO. The event was orchestrated by fashion industry legend Fern Mallis, now an international fashion and design consultant. At the time she was Executive Director of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, and she subsequently ran every Fashion Week in New York until 2010.
Both Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week and Restaurant Week now take place in New York twice a year and have been promoting the city continuously since 1992. Two years ago the city government estimated that Fashion Week generates a total annual economic impact of $865 million for the city. NYC & Company estimated that Restaurant Week generates $12 million in annual revenue for participating restaurants from online reservations alone. Together they highlight the economic potential of New York City's proposed hosting of the 2016 Democratic National Convention.
The primary obligation of that hosting is to provide a spectacular experience for the Convention delegates. But the hosting also provides an opportunity to do so by building events that showcase the host city in new and dynamic ways - ones that, if constructed properly, can benefit the city for years, if not decades, to come.
Typically that is not achieved. No other political convention in American history has generated the kind of economic return that the 1992 Democratic National Convention has. None has even come close.
But the opportunity is there again if New York City wins the right to host the 2016 Convention, and this week's Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week drives the point home with attention-grabbing flair.
The author is Chief Operating Officer of Goodman Media International, the New York City-based public relations firm.