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Fashion Week in New York and Fashion's Role in Innovation

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on September 13, 2009

It finally stopped raining in NYC and Fashion Week is booming along with run-way shows and parties. But the most important thing about this year’s Fashion Week is not the bling and the celebrities but the innovative new business models that are evolving in reaction to the Great Recession that might prove useful to startups and large corporations outside the fashion world.

The need to see “luxury” stuff and the need to cut prices to sell anything at this point in the economic cycle is leading to all kinds of

lower-priced business strategies and models. Pop-up stores that take over empty stores for a few weeks or months to showcase new designers are very hot in NYC and London at the moment. The innovation with the most scale, of course, is selling fashion online. The latest twist is having private, invitation-only one-day or even one-hour sales for expensive goods. Gilt Group has pioneered this concept. Gilt doesn't hold any inventory, it just sells what is offered momentarily by fashion companies. It allows the fashion companies to cut prices--but keep the price cutting within a self-selecting small group of people. That stops wholesale discounting--well, maybe.

As Gen Y moves into adult-hood, it wants to buy inside it's own culture--meaning on it's own platforms. That means online will play a much bigger role in fashion.

Parsons School of Design, where I now curate lectures on innovation, offers courses on this evolution of the fashion business model. These classes might be good for any business school student.

Reader Comments


September 13, 2009 7:25 PM

Finally an article that says what is really happening in fashion. When designers come out singing and the Editor from Vogue starts making personal appearances you know something is up and it can't be good. Well done!

chopper noble

October 4, 2009 6:23 AM

Yes, I absolutely love shopping on member-only sites for saving money online. I have been finding the best deals at Rue La La and Gilt as of late. However, you have to get to the sale fairly early when it opens because these deals are selling out so fast. I've hesitated on buying an item I wanted and then a few hours later it was already sold out. Such is life.

Just so you know... Here are a few choice invitation codes to Members-Only shopping websites to go and check them out for yourself. Happy Shopping and Saving.


Use this email to sign up -



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August 17, 2010 1:35 AM

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Want to stop talking about innovation and learn how to make it work for you? Bruce Nussbaum takes you deep into the latest thinking about innovation and design with daily scoops, provocative perspectives and case studies. Nussbaum is at the center of a global conversation on the growing discipline of innovation and the deepening field of design thinking. Read him to discover what social networking works—and what doesn’t. Discover where service innovation is going and how experience design is shaping up. Learn which schools are graduating the most creative talent and which consulting firms are the hottest. And get his take on what the smartest companies are doing in the U.S., Asia and Europe, far ahead of the pack.

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