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Diversity to Rock Runway at NY Fashion Week


FILE - Model Gigi Hadid and designer Tommy Hilfiger acknowledge attendees after presenting Hilfiger's Spring/Summer 2017 collection at New York Fashion Week in Manhattan, New York.

From faux furs and statement outerwear to floral prints and pants suits for warmer weather, a diversity of styles for all seasons will hit the runway at New York Fashion Week.

Many designers at the semi-annual event, which begins on Thursday, will preview 2017 fall/winter apparel that will land in stores months from now. But others will follow a trend that started last year and show in-season designs for spring/summer that consumers can snap up immediately.

"We're also seeing a lot of designers show spring as well with their 'see now/buy now' collection," said Katrina Mitzeliotis, fashion director at celebrity and style website HollywoodLife.com. "There is more diversity than ever before in what's coming down the runway."

Designers Tommy Hilfiger, Tom Ford and a few others featured in-season looks at last September's Fashion Week, months ahead of when the fashion world was accustomed to seeing them.

Look for plenty of mashups, or mixed fabrics that appear to be thrown together with studied casualness, to grace Fashion Week runways this season, said Roseanne Morrison, fashion director of The Doneger Group. She expects plenty of pant suits and outfits with a tailored look, too.

"I am sure a lot of the fabrics will be lighter in weight because most of the designers are addressing seasonless, or 'see now/buy now' concept, because nobody is really buying for three months ahead," she said.

While the idea has picked up steam, Catherine Bennett, senior vice president, managing director of IMG fashion events, cautioned that it is not a business model for everyone.

"It's really a personal decision for each designer," she explained. "It's a great solution for some brands but not for others."

But diversity may extend beyond the fashions at Fashion Week, which organizers said attracts about 100,000 people and generates $880 million in revenue for New York City.

Last season more than 25 percent of the models in shows in New York, London, Paris and Milan were women of color, according to a study by thefashionspot.com website.

A model presents a creation by Marina Hoermanseder on the sidelines of the Berlin Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2017/2018 in Berlin, Germany Jan. 19, 2017.
A model presents a creation by Marina Hoermanseder on the sidelines of the Berlin Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2017/2018 in Berlin, Germany Jan. 19, 2017.

New York led the way, with 30.3 percent, and that could rise this year. The city's Fashion Week also featured the most plus-size models in recent history, more women over 50 years old and a slight increase in transgender models, with 10
appearances.

"We're seeing diversity more and more in fashion, whether it is race or size," said Mitzeliotis.

Fashion experts hope the trend will continue and make the shows more inclusive, broadening the appeal of the fashions.

This year IMG, the organizer of Fashion Week, has moved the shows from midtown venues to the SoHo neighborhood of lower Manhattan.

Although some designers will still present their collections at venues in other parts of Manhattan, the bulk of the shows are scheduled for three galleries at Skylight Clarkson Square and the presentation space Industria.

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