NYFW Will Have Limited Or No Spectators This Season, Cuomo Says

The shows will go on — kind of.

Adut Akech at Marc Jacobs Fall 2020 New York Fashion Week
Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

New York Fashion Week will happen this year, but it’s going to look a lot different. On Tuesday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the biannual event is permitted to go on as planned, but not without introducing a host of precautions due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“New York City is the fashion capital of the world and New York Fashion Week celebrates the ingenuity of this city, and our unmatched creative talent,” Gov. Cuomo said in a press release. “When COVID-19 hit New York, so many of our cherished events were forced to cancel or be postponed. The pandemic is far from over, but we’re proud to support event organizer IMG in moving forward with NYFW, in adherence with strict state public health guidance.”

So, what does that guidance translate to in terms of the shows themselves? Outdoor events will be capped at 50 people. Indoor events will be capped at 50 percent capacity, and no spectators will be allowed (in other words: models, designers, and other essential personnel only).

Attendees must also comply with proper social distancing at all times, and all personnel, vendors, designers, models, and guests have to follow the provisions of the state’s travel advisory. That means diagnostic testing and health screening procedures, including temperature checks prior to admittance, face covering requirements, and limiting the in-person workforce to just essential personnel.

“Safety, as always, is our top priority and we commend the hosts, and all participating designers, for their innovative, New York Smart solutions to bring this event to life,” Cuomo said.

It’s not yet clear which designers will be hosting in-person events versus virtual shows, but there’s likely to be a heavy focus on digital and streaming content given the complex logistics that are involved in producing a traditional runway show.

“We are grateful to Governor Cuomo and his leadership for their swift, successful response in fighting the spread of the coronavirus, which has now set the standard of excellence for our nation,” Leslie Russo, executive vice president of IMG’s Fashion Events Group, said in a statement.

“The past six months have been exceedingly difficult for the fashion industry, and we are proud to offer an avenue for designers, models, stylists, hair and makeup artists, photographers, production teams — ­and the innumerable other professionals who work in, or adjacent to, the fashion industry during New York Fashion Week — to safely get back to work this September.”