Pop Culture dictionary

fashion week

fash-uhn week ]

What is fashion week?

The term fashion week most generally refers to a weeklong event in which fashion designers and brands display their new clothing lines, especially to live audiences during runway fashion shows.

When the term is capitalized, it often refers to (and is used in the name of) one of the major fashion weeks, including New York Fashion Week, Paris Fashion Week, London Fashion Week, and Milan Fashion Week. 

When is Fashion Week?

Major fashion weeks are held twice a year. New York Fashion Week is typically held in early February and early September. New York Fashion Week is typically followed by London Fashion Week, and then Milan Fashion Week, and then Paris Fashion Week.

The 2021 winter New York Fashion Week runs from February 14–17, followed by London Fashion Week from February 19–23, Milan Fashion Week from February 23 to March 1, and Paris Fashion Week from March 1–9.

Fashion weeks showcasing clothes for the spring and summer seasons are usually held in September.

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Where does fashion week come from?

The modern tradition of showcasing new clothing lines during an event called fashion week is often traced to the 1940s. New York Dress Institute founder and artist Eleanor Lambert is credited with establishing a program in New York City called press week, during which fashion designers and other artists could display their new works to the media. By the 1950s, it had come to be called New York Fashion Week. 

Paris has long been a center for fashion and fashion shows, but the first event officially called Paris Fashion Week was held in 1973. Milan Fashion Week was established in 1958, and London Fashion Week was started in 1984.

Examples of fashion week

As tends to be the case at London Fashion Week, beauty hinged on the juxtaposition of punk rebellion and ladylike romance this season.
Lauren Valenti, Vogue, September 17, 2019
Watched my first fashion show at my first fashion week while sitting directly behind Anna. Wintour. I have no words only feelings.
@connorfranta, September 9, 2016
I’m at my first fashion week and I had a hard time tonight. Don’t let anyone make you feel less than just because they don’t know who you are or what you are worth. I felt like that tonight, and it made me crumble.
@HayleyKiyoko, September 9, 2018
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More information and context on fashion week

Fashion weeks typically feature many different runway shows hosted by different fashion brands or “houses.” Traditionally, they feature new lines of fashion that will go on sale later in the year. The clothes are worn by models who walk on the runway, or catwalk, so that they can be photographed and seen by the live audience, which typically includes journalists, celebrities, and other designers and industry professionals. Many fashion shows are also broadcast.

Did you know … ?

  • Fashion weeks held around September typically display clothing for spring and summer while the fashion weeks held in wintertime display clothing for fall. This gives buyers and retailers time to prepare for the upcoming season.
  • Fashion shows take months of preparation but typically last for short time, often 10 or 15 minutes.
  • Although some fashion weeks have events that are open to the public, most fashion shows are invite only.

What are other words used in discussion of fashion week?

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Note

This is not meant to be a formal definition of fashion week like most terms we define on Dictionary.com, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of fashion week that will help our users expand their word mastery.