Fashion's Night Out began in 2009, when Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour wanted to find a way to get shoppers into stores in the height of the recession. The concept involved getting New York stores to stay open late for a night and hold events that would emphasize their commitment to the Vogue-sponsored cause while attracting potential customers.
It sort of worked. People showed up to stores, lured by celebrity appearances ("see the Olsens bartend"), free booze and food ("try the latest grilled cheese food truck"), and other random event-y things ("get your portrait drawn like a fashion illustration"). While it seemed unclear whether people were showing up to actually buy things or to just take advantage of all the free wine, the first Fashion's Night Out was a fun experiment in retail-endorsed drunkenness. But then FNO happened again, and again — and again. By 2012 it had expanded to 500 cities around the U.S., and 30 around the globe. Finally, after four years, the event is not happening in the U.S. this year. The announcement has been met with much rejoicing from the fashion media, who hated having to cover the mammoth event on top of New York Fashion Week (the dates always overlapped). But that whining aside, Vogue and the country were smart to put the event to rest for now. Here's why.