In the post pandemic landscape, the realities of fashion show productions have changed and new types of productions have emerged…some of it for the better, according to producer and designer Alexander Gurman.
While the pandemic has resulted in many sponsorships drying up—compounding the misery of the crisis for the fashion industry as a whole—there are certain rays of light, such as the push for more accessible and public shows. In the past, high rents and locations with limited capacity issues plagued producers and made creating shows difficult. Now, fashion industry experts are demanding spaces in which to share their work…and public parks are emerging as hotspots for such endeavors.
In March, Alexander Gurman hosted a “Mr. Great Central Park Promenade” fashion events which was held in protest of harassment of models, photographers, and artists; the event even featured a push for animal rights via the protest of places such as puppy mills.
“Doing events as part of a protest, a good cause, constitutes no need for a permit and so it reduces the red tape,” Alexander explained via a recent interview.
The practice of placing fashion back under the umbrella of arts as a public performance form intended to be enjoyed by the general public had found support from city officials. Such public fashion events also help to share shows with the citizens of New York who have been without Broadway, parades, and other live spectacles for over a year.
Many fashion designers have also noticed that the international travel bans have made local people more willing to explore the city and come upon these public events. This has resulted in customers buying clothes directly from designers at the park as their souvenirs from the trip to the Big Apple.
“Designers are happy that they see new unexpected fan bases that actually support them with their wallets buying their creations right at the spot after the show,” Alexander declared. “Also many designers have opened their runway options for regular folks who would not usually think of themselves as typical models but, because they like to buy as a memory garments that they wore at the runway, designers do not have to carry back their collection after the show. In short, collections get sold at these public shows.”
Another interesting aspect about the emergence of Central Park fashion show productions is the non-traditional format of the fashion show runway. Central Park shows do photoshoots on iconic stairs and the producers of the show successfully experimented with paparazzi fashion show format when models walk the runway with a group of bodyguards. The inclusion of comedy and prank elements in these shows also renders them more akin to performance and artistic expression rather than a rigid runway experience. Models at the Central Park fashion shows demonstrate talents such as running, jumping, dancing, and singing. These shows also occur in various weather conditions such as snow storms, heavy rain, and windy days. Outdoor fashion accepts various weather conditions.
“These alternative formats allow the show to break stereotypes and appeal to new audiences,” Alexander stated. “Some demographics in the past successfully collaborated. For example, the Caribbean community have strong ties among themselves as well as the Latin American community and they have started producing their activities as a joint front. Some communities have never been able to consolidate under one roof such as how Eastern European communities or African countries tend to produce events as one country for the lack of a common consolidation power; we are trying to change that.”
Alexander Gurman is known for his incredible inclusive and diverse shows that feature models of all ethnicities, ages, and body types but he is hopeful that this new public show structure may establish a common denominator among the Eastern European community since Alexander hails from an Eastern European heritage.
“For some of the the recent shows, designers from Russia and Ukraine and other countries shipped their collection to designer representatives and sold their collections at the show,” Alexander explained and noted that unsold items were returned back to the designer. “That has been an emerging trend with the lack of international travel.”
The next central park show is scheduled for Sunday April 25th. Alexander asks that anyone who is interested in collaborating reach out to him directly at AlexanderEGurman on Facebook. “We have a few new fashion products and styles that we will introduce at that show including a food and drinks fashion show as well as a product placement fashion show,” he added. “I think it’s going to be an interesting event.”