New York Fashion Week goes mostly virtual amid the COVID-19 pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has changed this year's New York Fashion Week. 

There will be no celebrities sitting in the front rows and no crowds of people, models and journalists along the runway for the semi-annual event.

"Ultimately fashion is a business, and Fashion Week is a platform for designers to do business," Steven Kolb, chief executive of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), told the Associated Press. "So this is about jobs ... it's about people's livelihoods. It's about moving forward, but cautiously, with safety in mind."

The fashion week which starts Sunday is going to be held mostly virtually. 

Fewer brands will show their spring collections in person. Strict safety measures are in place, including social distancing, mask wearing and COVID-19 tests.

CFDA has created Runway 360 to encourage people to watch the shows online and help designers connect with buyers and consumers. 

Kolb said the new platform is a digital version of the old tents in Manhattan where designers once gathered during Fashion Week.

The annual CFDA Awards winners will be announced by video.

Because of the change, some top designers have decided to cancel their shows including Marc Jacobs. Others include Oscar de la Renta, Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors, Prabal Gurung, Proenza Schouler, and Tory Burch. Some may show their collections later this year, or in a different format.

"We all can agree that nothing can replace a live show," Kolb says.

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