What Does This Whole “Fashion’s Night Out” Thing Mean Anyway?

If Anna Wintour and Diane von Furstenberg get their way, there will be no more sale racks to sift through for deals. But it’s a bit more complicated than that, as The Wall Street Journal explains. What is “Fashion’s Night Out”?The fashion industry is hurting due to falling profits from huge discounts and the increasing prevalence of knockoffs. Last Thanksgiving, there were crazy sales on nearly every item in every store, and so the cycle of deep-discounting began. (There was no other way to get rid of the inventory stores had purchased six months earlier when the economy was stronger.) Now, those heavy discounts are putting fashion and retail in a tough spot. If you think your industry has been hard-hit with layoffs and closures, WSJ points out: “Retail employment has been one of the hardest hit sectors of the economy, leaving one-out-of-10 retail-industry employees out of work. Every level has been affected: Circuit City went out of business, and so has Christian Lacroix, which is currently on the sale block.”

So, Wintour and DVF have come up with a plan to bolster the otherwise sad state of retail. On Fashion’s Night Out, 700 stores in the U.S. and 11 other countries — including the U.K., Greece, Japan, China, Russia, India and Brazil — will keep their doors open until at least 11 p.m. on Sept. 10, the eve of New York Fashion Week, and sales of any kind will be discouraged. Vera Wang will have a DJ and an appearance by “American Idol” judge Kara DioGuardi. Saks will have 40 designers walking around the sales floors. There will be food, mani/pedis, and enough champagne to go around at Neiman Marcus. (Check out who’s doing what here.)

Says Wintour: “Another thing we need to counteract is that even among wealthy people, it is not really the thing to go shopping right now.” If you have the cash, and you aren’t racking up thousands on your credit card to purchase stuff you don’t need, go for that dress you’ve been eying for weeks. We won’t judge. It could help us all out in the long run. [Wall Street Journal]