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?