MIB: Fern Mallis, Fashion Icon

This week, we sit down with Fern Mallis who created a centralized fashion week known as 7th on Sixth in New York City’s Bryant Park, now known as Fashion Week. She helmed the influential Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA). She hosts a series of interviews with high-profile designers collected in the book “Fashion Lives: Fashion Icons With Fern Mallis.”

Mallis describes the early days when New York City’s annual fashion showings (7th on Sixth). There were dozens of locations all over the city, that was uncoordinated and expensive to produce. At a Michael Kors runway show in empty loft space in Chelsea in March of 1991, the show began with thumping bass. The ceiling began thumping also, then crumbled: plaster fell on the runway, on a string of one-name Supermodels, including Naomi, Cindi, and Linda. Theand fashion media coverage the next day noted: “We live for fashion, we don’t want to die for it.”

Out of that mess, Mallis created Fashion Week. It was a singular organized event for the entire New York fashion industry. It has since grown into a huge event in the city, and is a a significant economic contributor to the city.

We also discuss issues like fast fashion, outlet malls, and what the future of fashion retail experience is going to have to do to say relevant and make shopping matter again.

Her favorite books are here; a transcript of our conversation is posted here.

You can stream/download the full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunesBloombergOvercast, and Stitcher. Our earlier podcasts can all be found at iTunesStitcherOvercast, and Bloomberg.

Next week, we speak with Joseph Davis, Vanguard Group’s global chief economist, and head of Vanguard Investment Strategy Group.

 

 

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