How "Fashion Week" Started

There are three ways of interpreting when each "fashion week" started.

  1. When fashion shows started to become assembled seasonally.
  2. When the phrase "fashion week" began to be used.
  3. When an organisation began organising these shows.
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America's first fashion show was held in 1903 in a New York City speciality store, Ehrich Brothers. Over the next two decades, fashion shows became mainstream and were held at department stores and hotels.

In 1943, fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert clustered these shows into a time frame to boost American fashion during the occupation of France. In 1993, the New York's fashion show was combined in a single location under Fern Mallis, the then Executive Director of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA).

The New York Fashion Week was first called "7th on Sixth" and was sold to IMG in 2001.

In 2004, Olympus became the title sponsor, and New Yorks events became known as the "Olympus fashion week". In 2007, when Mercedes-Benz became the title sponsor, it became known as the "Mercedes-Benz fashion week New York." Today, shows are still grouped seasonally but organised by many producers.

The London Fashion Week was the first English-speaking fashion event to use the term "Fashion Week." Events were organized by the British Fashion Council, which still organize the events to this day.

London was also the first fashion week to stream their events live in Spring 2010.

  • Milan's "fashion week": Since 1958, the National Chamber for Italian Fashion (Camera Nazionale Della Moda Italiana) organised fashion events, but some of the largest design houses, such as Dolce & Gabbana and Gucci, show independently.
  • Paris Fashion Week (1945). There are two "fashion weeks" in Paris - the high fashion shows and the ready to wear shows. Most shows appear under the banner of the French Fashion Federation, which controls accreditation for their shows, but there are some independent events during Paris Fashion Week as well.

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