Fashion's Night Out canceled for the fall Fashion Week
New York won't have as much style this fall.
Fashion's Night Out, the annual staple where the city's biggest stores offer free shows, concerts and discounted prices, will be canceled in all its U.S. locations this year, much to the delight of some Manhattan community leaders and elected officials who bemoaned the "chaotic" event.
Organizers, which include Condé Nast and the city, said Wednesday the event has outgrown its original purpose, which was to re-energize retail outlets during the recession and retailers will be doing other events during the week.
Bob Gormley, the district manager of Community Board 2 in SoHo, however, said the event, which started in 2009, grew out of control and needed a timeout.
"I'm happy to hear this," he said. "I think the city and Fashion's Night Out need to take a step back and rethink how to organize this event."
Gormley said his office received numerous phone calls from residents in September after a huge crowd gathered at Broadway and Bleecker for a Fashion's Night Out event. The police broke up the scene after pedestrians got into a fight with a motorist and smashed the back window of Audi sedan.
"Things that help businesses, we like that, however the way things have been going last couple of years have become chaotic," Gormley said.
A spokeswoman for Councilwoman Margaret Chin (D-SoHo) said she was working with the NYC & Company, the city's tourism wing, and the mayor to come up with a way to improve the congestion and chaos during the event.
The councilwoman said she was glad the event wasn't returning because it was seriously damaging quality of life in SoHo.
"The event was blighted by violence and shockingly disturbing behavior," she said in a statement.
NYC & Company declined to give more details behind the decision but noted it was a big boost for the city's economy over the last four years.
Vogue editor Anna Wintour, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the Council of Fashion Designers of America came up with the idea and pumped millions of dollars into its marketing.
While the fall and spring Fashion Week generated $865 million for the city last year, officials were unable calculate what dollars Fashion's Night Out generated.
The organizers said Fashion's Night Out would continue in other locations such as the United Kingdom, Russia and Thailand. It wasn't clear if the event would return in the future.
Tricia Lewis, a member of the 34th Street Partnership, said she didn't think the huge crowds led to the cancellation and agreed that many retailers have bounced back financially from the recession.
Lewis, who also writes for the fashion blog Fashion Herald, said the last four years of Fashion's Night Out gave the stores a big boost in the right path.
"There was a big need to get people back into stores. People weren't just coming out as they used to," she said.
The mayor's office said that Fashion Week would still to be a success without its flagship event.
"We can always count on fashion industry leaders to use their creativity and savvy to benefit New York City -- whether they are helping us recover from a national recession, a natural disaster or whatever the next challenge may be," a spokeswoman for the mayor said in a statement.
Fashionistas across the city weren't too happy with Wednesday's announcement that Fashion's Night Out will be canceled this fall. They took to Twitter to sound off.
"Nooo...FNO is canceled this year?? What?! That was my one night where I could meet designers, drink free booze and get Polaroid pics taken!" -@itsmeAddieT
"ugh so annoyed they canceled #fno, I so wanted to go this year my first one as a #fblogger, now I won't be able to. Boo!" -@Tanylovefashion
So They have canceled FNO for the states. I'm guessing the realized it was wasting money instead of bringing it in. -@MegUrbani
"The problem w/ #FNO invite only parties is it defeats the purpose of hopping around. Some of us wanted to shop & celebrate our brands." -@TheTinbot