By Alicia Powell
NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York Fashion Week, the first in a series of global style weeks during September, is gearing up with designers ready to present their visions for Spring 2018.
This season, more than 100 designers will showcase their latest creations in venues across New York from Thursday, although some flagship brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Thom Browne, Proenza Schouler, and Altuzarra have opted to move their shows overseas.
The six-day schedule, which previously ran for a full week, has been streamlined to give buyers and editors more time to fly out to London Fashion Week, which follows directly after New York's.
"When you look at fashion weeks globally - starting in New York, then London, then Milan, then Paris - it's basically a month. You have editors and buyers traveling to all those fashion weeks," said Steven Kolb, president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, Inc. (CFDA), describing the "sheer exhaustion" of such a jam-packed schedule.
High-profile fashion houses Calvin Klein and Tom Ford are kicking off the New York shows to "put it on the same playing field" as its European counterparts, Kolb said.
In keeping with the political messaging that often underlies the program, many fashionistas on and off the runway are expected to wear blue ribbons, created in collaboration with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
"The ACLU is an important group that really stands up for people's rights - the right for people to live their lives as they choose," Kolb said.
Celebrities have been sporting the ribbon on red carpets already this year, but for fashion week, the ribbon is branded with the NYFW initials.
Last season the CFDA paired up with the Planned Parenthood health group to create pink pins that ended up on the garments of models on the runway, designers such as Marchesa's Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig and Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour.
(Reporting by Alicia Powell in New York; Writing by Elly Park; Editing by Melissa Fares and Frances Kerry)