NYC & Company, the City of New York, American Vogue, and the Council of Fashion Designers of America are launching a New York City program on Sept. 10 called "Fashion Night Out" that will be mirrored in other cities around the world.
The program involves hundreds of stores that will stay open late to host designer appearances, live windows, celebrity guests, musical performances, food and drink, and other events. It is part of a global initiative that will also be held on the same night, and is sponsored by Vogue international editions in the United Kingdom, Greece, Italy, Russia, France, Brazil, India, Spain, China, Germany, Japan, and Taiwan.
Vogue Editor in Chief Anna Wintour, who developed the program, and Diane von Fürstenberg, designer and president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, brought the idea to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Bloomberg tapped NYC & Company to develop the program with local-business support in all five boroughs, per George Fertitta, CEO of the marketing, tourism and partnership organization for New York. "When [Wintour] brought it to the attention of the mayor, his only caveat was it had to be in all five boroughs. Initially, we had thought 150 stores would be involved. It's up to 800," he says.
NYC & Company is also handling creative and providing media, volunteer and logistics support. Advertising launches this week on bus shelters, street pole banners, phone kiosks, newsstands and at New York City information centers. There is also a PSA produced by Laird + Partners that will run on 6,500 city taxi cab monitors as well as on TV, online at sites like style.com, and via social media hubs like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. The PSA features a roster of New York celebrities and fashion designers as well as Wintour and von Fürstenberg, talking up the program. NYC and Company is also directing consumers to NYCGo.com.
Fertitta says that while the initiative launches the first day of Fashion Week in New York, it is less about Fashion Week than getting visitors and residents into stores. He says retail business has been hard-hit by the global recession, although New York hotels and museums are doing well. "But having said that, the luxury market has been hard-hit. Retail has been hard-hit. And travel has been down," he says.
Major brand sponsors in the project include American Express, ING, Payless Shoes, Urban Express, and Getty Images. On the night of the event, Gray Line tour company will provide free transportation via double-decker buses making stops between midtown and downtown. The buses will be wrapped with advertising coordinated by NYC & Company and underwritten by Payless Shoes.
AmEx is also sponsoring a program where 70 of NYC & Company's roster of member restaurants will offer discounts Sept. 10-18 in honor of Fashion's Night Out and Fashion Week.