The End of Fashion Night Out? Does Anyone Care?

This might be the last year for Fashion’s Night Out, the global shopping event created by the very philanthropic folks at Vogue as a way to help out retailers during the Great Retail Crash of 2008. Apparently, the event doesn’t generate much income for stores as people mostly come to stores during FNO to score free drinks (have you ever tried to try on a pair of 4 inch platform heels while drunk? hmmm not a good look).

Perhaps it’s just me, but I’ve always felt there was something a bit “off” about the whole FNO concept. The idea of raising shopping, a discretionary lifestyle related activity, to the level of an annual charity event, is dangerous as consumerism is one of the main factors (but not the only) that contributed to our economic problems. Really, since when did shopping get elevated to the same level as a March of Dimes telethon? Saks Fifth Avenue isn’t a non -profit organization in need of charitable support, but a for profit corporation (just try asking Saks to give your kid a free t-shirt because you can’t afford to buy school clothes).


More pointedly, why are countries like Spain, Portugal, and Greece (WTF??? are you serious??) having FNO events to encourage shopping, when the countries themselves are screening calls from bill collectors? You’re telling people who may not have a pension or health care, to buy shoes? It’s like giving a glass of water to a drowning person

From New York Magazine:

FNO began as a way to get people to shop in the terrible economy. Now that luxury consumers are shopping again, this may be less of a concern for many brands who advertise in Vogue and participate in FNO. Something always felt strange about trying to turn shopping into a cause. All the same, it’s still fun to leave work and realize you can drink in so many stores for free on this night of giving back to fashion. So you can’t say — for at least this one night — that fashion isn’t giving back to you.

Do you care that Fashion’s Night Out is ending?

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  1. Marthalynn says

    Ha! Thanks for enlightening me on this. Honestly, I thought FNO was a charity event for actual charities. I should have looked more into it, but I just assumed that there was some hungry child or environmental program somewhere that was benefiting from all of the spending.

  2. Kim says

    I really love FNO, and would be sad to see it go. It’s a night for the city to get dressed up and go out together. The special events are often really interesting, such as demonstrations, product launches, or meet & greets with the designers (which I know I personally wouldn’t get a chance to do otherwise). I was never under the impression that the evening’s purchases were charity oriented, which is why retailers who participate aren’t supposed to have “sales”–the point was to purchase full price merchandise. The FNO branded merchandise does have a charity component though (I believe it’s 40% or so to an NYC AIDS charity). I enjoy pop up stores a lot, which brings different merchandise to NYC that might otherwise only be available online. It’s a shame that people use it as an excuse to get drunk for free, rather than enjoying it for what it is.

  3. Catarina says

    Nope, it is another way to get hard working Americans to part with their income. Buy what you need people and say NO to greedy marketeers! When you do, buy on your own terms and at your price.

  4. Xsyntriq says

    “From New York Magazine: … All the same, it’s still fun to leave work and realize you can drink in so many stores for free on this night of giving back to fashion. …”
    Are you KIDDING me???!!!?????!!!! They want us to GIVE BACK to fashion?? We already pay way too much for something with someone’s name attached to it. How much more giving do they think we should give??
    And never mind that most of them seem to think they are too good to create clothing for women that are 2, 3, 4, or 5 times larger than a size 6. The ONE group of people that SHOULD realize that diversity INCLUDES people of varying sizes and NOT just colors and sexuality, makes a BIG point of ostracizing people that don’t fit into whatever mold they think they should fit in.
    The heck with ’em. They can sink for all I care. Maybe they will be replaced by someone that understands and designs for a variety of shapes and sizes.

  5. C Ritter says

    Living on the West Coast (not the “Other” Coast), I frankly could care less if FNO stops. I think that it is long past time for people at the top of the food chain to realize that the other 99% of Americans don’t have the “discretionary income” that they have, thanks to their low tax rates, generous tax breaks, and refusal to funnel money back into the system that has made them so rich. So if they want to “give” to their “favorite charities” of Saks, Bloomingdales, Lord & Taylor, Neiman Marcus or whoever, let ’em. The rest of us are just trying to pay the “f”ing rent.

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