Does New York Fashion Week need a makeover?

New York Fashion Week is well underway, but the calendar this season has not been received without criticism.

Firstly, industry-insiders are saying NYFW needs an edit. A full makeover. Other than Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren, Marc Jacobs and Alexander Wang, there aren't many exciting shows for the international press and buyers in comparison to the quality of designers we see in Milan, Paris and even London. Most would agree, of all the cities New York has the fewest ready-to-wear brands considered as style leaders on an equal page with European brands.

Secondly, The New York Times yesterday criticised the lack of diversity on the catwalks. It has long been debated how few black girls are featured on the cover of leading consumer magazines and one the catwalks, but this also extends to the lack of diversity of New York's on-schedule brands and designers themselves.

Off all catwalk designers only 3 are African-American

Of the 350 shows on the men’s and womenswear schedule, only three with any global reach are by African-American designers: Tracy Reese, Public School and Hood by Air. If you count Cushnie et Ochs, which is based in New York but whose co-designer, Carly Cushnie, is Afro-Caribbean, you can get to four.

Throw in smaller brands with annual revenue of under 1 million dollars, such as Harbison, Pyer Moss and LaQuan Smith, it goes up to 2.7 percent of the total. So too this mirrors the lack of African-American members of the Council of Fashion Designers of America which stands at 2.5 percent with just 12 members out of 470.

So what we are seeing is a fashion week with a massive 350 shows, of mostly homogenised designers and arguable just 10 percent that have international importance. The vetting process for making the schedule is perhaps not so rigorous as it is in Paris and Milan, but the CFDA knows it has an issue to make NYFW more manageable for press and buyers.

Next season New York will have it's first men's only week, which will already condense the calendar. Secondly the CFDA is producing a list of NY Fashion Highlights, which comprises of a list of defining shows anonymously selected by editors and retailers.

Some of the most exhibiting shows in New York this season are Victoria Beckham, Marc by Marc Jacobs and Astrid Andersen. All of these are lead by a European design team. It's about time that New York's own talent make an international statement.

Image: Victoria Beckham, NY fashion week