New York City Fashion Week (known as NYFW) is as much a part of New York City’s cultural calendar as the Thanksgiving Day Parade or the Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration. What makes this celebration of global fashion such a draw to locals, tourists, designers, and models is the influence NYFW has on global culture. When creators like Helmut Lang, Anna Sui, and Ralph Lauren unveil their collections, people around the world take notice.
Although NYFW centers around exclusive, invite-only runway shows and soirees, its impact across New York goes much farther than the end of the catwalk. From pop-up installations and interactive branded exhibits to fashion enthusiasts wearing unique street-style outfits and clusters of photographers, Manhattan pulsates to the rhythm of fashion-forward energy.
If you didn’t make the trip to New York during the 2023 NYFW at the beginning of September, you can still have an immersive experience that allows you to take advantage of the fusion of art and human expression happening throughout the city. Here’s how:
Visit SUMMIT One Vanderbilt to begin your journey.
The breathtaking vista of the NYC skyline from SUMMIT is more than just a visual feast. As the city’s most avant-garde “observation deck,” SUMMIT is the perfect intersection of artistry and fashion. In fact, high above the bustling streets, NYC fashion has found a place at SUMMIT in two distinctive ways.
First is in the architecture of the space itself. The glass-floored ledges and mirrored installations act as reflective runways. Visitors become the “models” with the expanse of sky and horizon as their backdrop. The juxtaposition of human expression against the urban canvas brings about a dynamic interplay, making SUMMIT a fitting stage for haute couture.
Secondly, a special, organic nod to fashion has emerged: the SUMMIT Ensemble Experience. A wave of influencers and fashionistas have begun dressing in what they call “SUMMIT ensembles.” These diverse statement outfits are curated for the experience of being 1,100+ feet above the city. It’s not unusual to see guests wearing floor-length silken gowns to mirror the shimmering city lights or suits with structural elements reminiscent of the surrounding skyscrapers. Some have even incorporated LED-lit garments and accessories into their SUMMIT ensembles
Although art and fashion have always been part of the New York City vibe, they’re especially on display around the time of NYFW. Take notice of street fashion, which is almost like a moving art gallery of fashion and design along the city’s sidewalks. Artistic expression, cultural commentary, and a celebration of the individual as an artist are at every street corner. Everywhere you go, you’ll see people communicating their personal styles, moods, and identities with clothing.
You’ll notice cultural, political, and social statements, too. For centuries, people have used fashion to celebrate their backgrounds and cultures, as well as to serve as a powerful medium to voice opinions on relevant causes or draw attention to societal issues. For example, a simple graphic tee with an iconic slogan can have a major impact.
As you roam around the city before or after your visit to SUMMIT, be on the lookout for experimental art and fashion displays. These include outfits or installations that challenge conventional fashion norms, question established aesthetics, and play with shape, texture, and colors. Don’t forget to pay attention to accessories. Novel handbags, jewelry, shoes, and hats will be in full view during NYFW. Just about everything will catch your eye in some way.
Remember: While the runway shows during NYFW are typically reserved for industry professionals, celebrities, influencers, and the press, the streets are open to all. Make the most of this democratic space to be a part of the innate energy of this biannual celebration!
NYFW is a great opportunity to learn more about the link between fashion, the city, and society on a global scale. For example, you may come across pop-up shops, fashion exhibits in NYC, or similar experiences as you wind through the city’s gridded streets. These aren’t just your chance to purchase limited-edition items, though. They’re frequently places that allow you to learn more about influential designers, emerging design trends, and fashion in general.
This includes SUMMIT, which occasionally features temporary art installations that are rotated seasonally. SUMMIT was even the inspiration behind the penultimate episode of “Project Runway” season 20, where the contestants were given an avant-garde fashion challenge!
If you’re serious about diving into NYC fashion, you may want to try to find educational panels, discussions, or workshops to attend. These presentations are often set in art galleries or at fashion-related schools and institutes. Ultimately, you’ll have a better understanding of fashion beyond the surface glamour.
Are you ready to tackle NYC during NYFW and beyond? To start, purchase your ticket to SUMMIT. It’s your gateway to a world where you can become part of a continuously evolving tapestry of art and human connection.