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IMG announces Afterpay partnership for NYFW: The Shows

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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courtesy of NYFW: The Shows

Buy-now-pay-later payment service Afterpay, known as Clearpay in the UK, is partnering with another fashion week, NYFW: The Shows, adding to its commitments with London Fashion Week and Australian Fashion Week.

During an online presentation, IMG said that Afterpay had signed up as a multi-year presenting partner, beginning with September 2021, where it expects to return to in-person catwalk shows, after two seasons that were largely virtual because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“This announcement is about looking forward to the future in an incredibly exciting way for fashion retail in the city of New York,” said Nick Molnar, co-founder and co-chief executive officer of Afterpay, who joined the call from Australia. “Fashion has always been in our DNA, and we have been committed to supporting local brands since inception, and our investment today is a multi-year commitment to New York Fashion Week, from supporting designer initiatives from new and emerging talent to established designers, to offering the consumer more access to fashion brands and merchants they love.”

Through its partnership, Afterpay said it will support the US retail industry and “champion” American designers by placing a “global spotlight on American fashion”.

This will include partnering with New York-based, rising star designer LaQuan Smith to launch a ‘see now, buy now’ catwalk show during NYFW. This will be a “first” for the celebrity designer and Afterpay. During the event, US consumers will be able to view from home with the opportunity to buy items directly from the catwalk and pay for them over time.

Afterpay added that its event with Smith will be the “first of many consumer-facing programmes,” and its partnership with IMG will see them both hosting year-round programming and content that “educates and supports the retail industry and consumers alike”.

Afterpay to partner with LaQuan Smith for NYFW: The Shows in September

LaQuan Smith also joined the launch event and expressed his excitement for in-person fashion weeks to return, saying: “It feels really good to be talking about fashion week, and runway shows again. We’ve managed to keep busy through the pandemic, but digital shows never truly felt true to the brand. There’s just something about watching the way fabrics move on the runway, the energy in the room, and just seeing the reaction in real time, it really brings it all to life, and makes it quite real.”

Leslie Russo, president of IMG’s fashion events and properties, who led the online preview, said that the success of New York Fashion Week is “critical to rebuilding the fashion economy post-pandemic” adding that New York Fashion Week generates more income over the course of the week than London, Milan and Paris Fashion Weeks combined.

Historically, New York Fashion Week has generated close to 900 million US dollars per year for the city of New York through new job growth and tax revenue, the highest of all the regional fashion weeks.

“Our industry has faced countless setbacks during the pandemic, but our collective resilience is unparalleled,” added Russo. “With our new partners at Afterpay, we are proudly committing to not only reignite the commerce and creativity showcased at America’s most critical fashion industry event, but revitalise New York’s fashion and retail sectors at large.”

When discussing how many live and in-person events and catwalk shows can be expected, Russo, said: “This last year has been an incredible learning experience for designers, it gave everybody an opportunity to take a step back and try different things. I feel like it was a real opportunity to be inventive, to see what works for their brand not.

“This is not a one size fits all model, designers need to service their customer in different ways, but it is hard to replace the energy of being in the room for a live show, and what we hear over and over, whether it be a traditional fashion show, presentation or experience is that live is coming back in a big way.

“I would absolutely expect a lot of live, and a lot of supplemental digital in the future and I think that they’ll live together, and I think there are a lot of ways that digital can really enhance that experience.”

New York Fashion Week runs from September 9 to 15.

Fashion Week
LaQuan Smith
New York Fashion Week
NYFW: The Shows