Is Raf Simons the Savior NYFW: Men’s Needs?

Raf Simons will bring his eponymous line to New York Fashion Week: Men’s, hopefully giving the week the growth spurt it needs.

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The question many still have about New York Fashion Week: Men’s is “Why?” If Raf Simons can’t help to answer that in a big way, then maybe no one can.

Today, the CFDA announced that the Belgian designer will be putting his eponymous men’s line show on the calendar of NYFW: Men’s, which may go a very long way in putting the week on others’ calendars.

Simons show was a mainstay at Paris men’s week, though it made a detour to Pitti Uomo over the summer. The change in locale though is no surprise considering the other big recent move in Simons’ career. The designer abruptly departed from his post at Dior in October 2015, and this past August was announced as the new Creative Director of Calvin Klein. So New York will now be home to both Simons and his show.

“The CFDA is delighted to add Raf Simons to NYFW: Men’s,” said Steven Kolb, president and chief executive of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), in a statement. “Raf is one of the most influential designers on the international fashion stage. His creativity and energy are a welcome addition as we continue to grow this important platform for American menswear.”

That platform certainly needs the growth.

While weeks dedicated to men’s fashion are the norm in Europe, New York lacked its own. That seemed to work out pretty fine, but in February 2015 the CFDA announced it was getting in on that gentlemen action with its own men’s week.

The response, gauged by both press coverage and designers willing to participate, has been hesitant, to put it in the most polite terms. Particularly at a time where gender lines are blurring in fashion, and more and more designers are opting to show their offerings for both the ladies, fellas, and every discerning sartorialist in between in one presentation.

Simons’ crashing the calendar, however, should add much-needed buzz. Long before his appointment at Jil Sander, Dior, and Calvin Klein, there was simply just his men’s line. The eponymous collection is how Simons launched his career, and it’s been the only constant feature of it.

Of course, the move begs the question as to whether the Calvin Klein Collection men’s show will also someday bring its offering to NYFW: M. Despite showing women’s in New York, the quintessentially American label has kept its main men’s offerings in Milan (though, the brand has presented capsule collections for the week). Of course, the fact that it hasn’t made the move already tells you everything you need to know about the status of the week in the first place.

Though, champions of the men’s week have stressed the fact that the platform needs time to grow and find its footing before it attracts both more international eyes and more designers.

Consider the Simons move then an overnight three-inch growth spurt. Maybe NYFW: Men’s is well on its way to exiting boyhood.