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Why runway and fashion shows are going co-ed again

As the fashion industry continues to experience major shake-ups, co-ed fashion shows may become the new normal.

From fashion shows moving from being chiefly trade events to consumer-focused spectacles, to the frequent changes in creative directors at various brands, major shifts have been sweeping through the global fashion industry of late. There are various reasons driving these changes – such as evolutions in the way customers consume information – with streamlining being a key factor driving some of the shifts.

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  • USHERING IN THE NEW Last September, Bottega Veneta celebrated its 50th anniversary with its first runway show combining the men’s and women’s collections.

Since last year, for example, fashion houses such as Burberry and Marc Jacobs have been phasing out their diffusion labels and unifying their offerings under one main line. To the same end, these brands, as well as some others, have begun combining their women’s and men’s shows. Aside from being more efficient, co-ed shows ostensibly better reflect the design themes shared by a brand’s men’s and women’s collections each season.

This month, Bottega Veneta will present its Fall/Winter 2017/18 co-ed fashion show at the women’s fashion week in Milan. The event will mark the official debut of Bottega Veneta’s new show format. Calvin Klein, headed by creative director Raf Simons, will also be showing a combined collection in New York. This move raises many questions, such as what will become of men’s fashion weeks – which already have leaner calendars than women’s fashion weeks – if more brands choose to show their menswear together with their womenswear? While the answer will only be clearer over time, what’s certain is that in this disruptive era, raising questions is preferable to coming to a full stop.