Fashion Week has come to Freehold, it seems! Thursday, Sept. 8 marked the kickoff to New York Fashion Week with Fashion’s Night Out, and the Freehold Raceway Mall hosted its own evening of events to get in the spirit. From giveaways and sales to flash fashion shows, the mall stepped up its game in style.
The night began at 6 p.m. with the first of many flash fashion shows as well as the start of numerous stores’ special FNO sales and events. Guest Services set the tone by handing out swag bags containing coupons, beauty samples, bottled water, and a run-down of the night’s festivities; the best part, however, were the big colorful plastic shopping bags themselves.
Other stores participated in their own ways, offering gifts with purchase at Accessorize, Bare Escentuals, , and Swarovski; giveaways at and Swarovski; and special sales at over twenty retailers. Like New York’s FNO, each store put their own spin on the event: Clarks offered complimentary shoe shines, Sephora hosted makeup artists from Stila, Tarte, and Laura Mercier, and many stores had refreshments.
The centerpiece of this event, though, were a series of flash fashion shows throughout the night. Three stages were set up at the two ends of the mall and in the center court, each manned by a local radio station. 94.3 The Point was in the upper level wing, WPST held court on the lower level between Nordstrom and , and The Breeze took the coveted spot at center court near . Every fifteen minutes a show occurred, rotating throughout the three stages. In the interims at each location, the radio stations staged drawings for prizes such as an Amazon Kindle from The Breeze or Great Adventure tickets from WPST.
The shows featured looks from Macy’s INC, MNG by Mango for JCP, White House | Black Market, Kardashian for Sears, Vince Camuto, , , Nordstrom’s Ali Ferrin, New York & Company, California Sunshine, Macy’s Bar III, and The Limited. I sat in on the first four, where models walked in about six to eight looks per show. Certainly the best-attended location was The Breeze’s stage in center court, where foot traffic and thus attendance was at its highest, and where I heard people applaud the models for the first time. That stage also featured the most energetic and seemingly loudest music, keeping the pace going well between shows.
Freehold Raceway Mall’s FNO was not perfect. I think it might have served better to condense the three stages into one runway (longer than the three very short ones) to draw a bigger crowd, and it definitely would have behooved them to add a step for the models to mount the runway. I saw the first girl at the first show trip taking the foot-tall step and almost fall in her sky-high heels, and I’m sure she wasn’t the last. Perhaps Freehold might also have been better-served to eschew the traditional Thursday of Fashion’s Night Out for Friday or Saturday to capitalize on foot traffic; since this isn’t New York where the fashion shows will run all week from Thursday night on, moving the day doesn’t seem horribly detrimental.
All in all, though, I enjoyed this event. It perfectly accords with what I frequently point out is the Freehold Raceway Mall’s present trajectory: fashion. This was also a pleasant synergy of sales and fun events that created a lot of energy and made the mall feel a little more special Thursday night. I hope to see FNO at FRM grow into a hotly anticipated yearly event, and that the mall will pursue more like it.