Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week New York

06 Jan Mercedes-Benz leave New York Fashion Week

Fashion Week will be simply known as New York Fashion Week

This February marks the last time we’ll be making references to Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. Like Olympus before them (when the show of all shows was still at Bryant Park), Mercedes-Benz has decided not to extend their sponsorship of the show, and will not be renewing their deal with IMG according to WWD. “Our relationship with fashion is not ending, and we do support fashion globally,” a Mercedes-Benz spokeswoman told WWD, pointing out their continuing international support of fashion weeks in Sydney, Istanbul and Berlin, among others. “We maintain a top-tier portfolio of events. We routinely review those events for return on investment and general engagement. In general, it’s important to note that fashion and design are key pillars for Mercedes-Benz, and we will support fashion well into the future. Globally, Mercedes-Benz supports more than 50 fashion engagements in 30 countries.”

Much is being said in the blogosphere about how this is an unexpected blow and how IMG must be scrambling. I merely think it’s a case of Mercedes-Benz exercising their right to not renew a time-limited contract. Sometimes contracts end, and IMG will have had a backup plan in place and possibly another big sponsor lined up.

“… The whole shebang will be moving downtown…”

However, this news does come at an inopportune moment for IMG: after being told they have to leave Damrosch Park at Lincoln Center after this season, they are now forced to undergo a renaming. Inconvenient for them, but the name change won’t have much effect on the attendees. The location change is still somewhat up in the air and the new location yet to be announced, but we do know the whole shebang will be moving downtown. One venue being repeatedly mentioned is the Culture Shed at Harbour Yards, which will be finished in 2017. Until then, IMG has been looking into multiple venues to replace the much maligned Lincoln Center location.

In additional IMG news, reports trickled in that IMG is in negotiations to purchase competing fashion expo Made Fashion Week New York, which is held at the same time at Milk Studios. Things are definitely changing, especially since Made sponsor American Express has also decided to not continue their partnership with IMG and is not co-sponsoring the February shows.

There is a huge contrast between New York Fashion Week and Made; whereas IMG charges designers up to $75,000 to put on a show, Made offers space, styling, lighting and seating for free, and funnels all profits back into the show. It will be interesting to see what happens next.

Stuart McConaghy
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Stuart is a fashion photographer, stylist and writer based in New York. He is the former editor-in-chief of TAPE magazine, and has contributed to a plethora of international magazines too numerous to mention.

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