As we’ve mentioned numerous times, the bigger and more star-studded the events got, the less people actually seemed to shop. While we did see more retailers offering gifts or gifts with purchase to try to lure shoppers this year, apparently they’ve realized what we’ve been saying for a while: if it doesn’t make dollars, it doesn’t make sense.
Three years in, few people will speak on record about specific numbers to get an idea of just how good, bad or mediocre Fashion’s Night Out may be at a macro level. Retailers rarely miss an opportunity to talk about positive numbers though, so we have to imagine that the silence is more of an attempt not to fall into disfavor with FNO creator and Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour than a sudden shyness around discussing stellar sales results.
Enormous crowds of people are good for retailers if they’re buying things, but in the case of Fashion’s Night Out the result is more akin to a well dressed flash mob moving from free champagne spot to free champagne spot. While Ashley Turen, the owner of a small Lower East Side boutique, said that the night was good for business, unnamed publicists speaking to the Cut noted that the overall cost of events coupled with an extra event to work on right before Fashion Week make it more of a burden than benefit.
That’s to say nothing of the extra work for Vogue. For all of the faults we’ve found and written about concerning the event itself, the effort and amount of work that went into each of the events has been obvious and impressive. Maintaining growth of what’s essentially become a shopping holiday celebrated by thousands of retailers in 17 countries around the world and all 50 states could easily be a full time endeavor in and of itself. Considering that American Vogue pulled in more than $92 million from one issue alone this year (granted, it’s the year’s biggest issue), it’s not difficult to imagine that Fashion’s Night Out could have a low return on investment for Vogue as well.
While we wouldn’t be entirely sad to see the event go, we do hope that the things that did work survive and find their way into more sustainable promotions. Though the event seems to have gone on just a bit longer than needed, Anna Wintour certainly earns a solid E for effort; but now’s as good a time as any to realize that some things just aren’t meant to last all night.