On one September night over the last four years, revelers across the country could expect free cocktails, designer and celebrity sightings and late-night shopping sprees in various fashion hubs such as New York City and Los Angeles, but that won’t be the case this fall.
Fashion’s Night Out, the annual event designed to celebrate shopping and give retailers a much-needed financial boost during difficult economic times, is going on hiatus in the U.S. until further notice, according to WWD. The event will continue in select international cities.
Launched at the height of the 2009 recession in New York, FNO became an annual event after a positive consumer response. By 2012, its fourth year, the event had expanded to stores in more than 500 cities nationwide and 30 cities around the globe.
Often viewed as a “big party” or “street festival,” FNO was a chance to get potential consumers into stores and expose them to the latest fall fashions while rubbing shoulders with celebrities from Victoria Beckham to Yoko Ono. According to WWD, executives said that they hoped customers would take advantage of the party favors and celebrity sightings at FNO, and then come back at another time to buy items that caught their eye.
But customers weren’t really coming back, or shopping for that matter. And over the past four years, designers and retailers found that they were investing more and more of their resources to maintain a high level of quality without any major financial gains. Even Steven Kolb, the chief executive officer of the Council of Fashion Designers of America—one of the event’s sponsors—admitted, “I don’t think the success of it was measured only by numbers or money, but was really about engagement.”
Kolb and FNO’s other sponsors, including Vogue magazine and the tourism organization NYC & Co., said the hiatus in the U.S. was “in order to enable retailers to channel their resources to other priorities.”
Fashion’s Night Out will continue internationally, however, for a fifth year, hosted by Vogue editions published by Condé Nast International. This year, 19 countries will participate this year—including launches in Thailand and Ukraine.