New York’s Fashion Avenue turns 50 – WWD

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Fifty years ago, part of Seventh Avenue in Manhattan became Fashion Avenue.

On September 23, 1972, the stretch of Seventh Avenue between 26th and 42nd Streets in the Garment District became known for everything that made it live: fashion.

Although the subtitled Fashion Avenue moniker was first intended to be temporary – it was part of a campaign to revitalize New York as a global fashion city – the name stuck and has since remained synonymous with American fashion.

At the time, the name change campaign was led by Fashion Capital of the World Inc., a group formed a year earlier and comprised of a board of 50 influential business leaders, most from from the women’s clothing sector (those from the men’s fashion industry would join later). Renowned businessmen from the industry as well as designers like Jerry Silverman and Abe Schrader were part of the group. Oscar de la Renta also lent his name to events organized by the group, which enjoyed economic support from the City of New York and then-Mayor John Lindsay.

Besides the street renaming, promotional moments led by Fashion Capital of the World Inc. included a series of events and fashion shows in September 1972 as part of the first week-long Fall Fashion Festival At New York. The aim was to attract buyers from all over the world to promote and consolidate the city as the fashion capital of the world.

The whole fanfare, including a live fashion show outside Rockefeller Plaza, was captured in the pages of WWD, as well as broadcast on local television, successfully bringing together a crowd of Seventh Avenue designers and their fashion counterparts. industry – from clothing to accessories. , events and promotions spotlighted the Fashion Avenue workers, shoppers and entrepreneurs who, just as then, continue to make American fashion a vital economic powerhouse today.

And even more propelling American fashion to the fore, a year after Seventh Avenue was renamed, the famous Battle of Versailles – so dubbed by legendary WWD editor John B. Fairchild – a fashion show pitting American designers against to their French counterparts on behalf of raising funds for the ailing historic site, which have all but confirmed America, and New York in particular, as the heart of the global fashion industry; not only as a place to live, work and trade, but as a renowned fashion capital in its own right.

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