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Fashinistas prepare to camp out in New York

PLEASE NOTE: EDIT CONTAINS 4:3 MATERIAL. As the tents go up and the runways go down, fashionistas from around the world are preparing for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York. It began as an industry trade show dubbed "Press Week" in the 1940s and it gave American designers the opportunity to present their collections to fashion journalists. Creative director at The Doneger Group, David Wolfe, remembers the good ol' days. SOUNDBITE: David Wolfe, creative director, The Doneger group, saying (English): "It used to a real industrial fashion show and the people who came to the fashion shows were not celebrities, but people who owned stores or worked for big department store chains that actually ordered the clothes. That meant that the clothes were shown, and they often were shown just in a showroom." Now the week is considered an exercise in entertainment and image building as well as brand recognition for both new and old designers. In addition, Lisa Holladay, manager of brand experience marketing for Mercedes-Benz USA, says the week stimulates the New York economy and even educates. SOUNDBITE: Lisa Holladay, manager of brand experience marketing for Mercedes-Benz USA, saying (English): "Annually this event is bringing in more than $40 million dollars (USD) to the local business, hotels, restaurants. In addition, we've really engaged with educational activities. We hosted a panel this year so public school students could come learn about the fashion industry. Betsey Johnson participated and she's such a large personality that the students really enjoyed meeting her, and also really learning that fashion is a business and brings a lot of money into New York City and the United States overall." New York-based fashion designer Vivienne Tam has experienced Fashion Week as both a newcomer and a veteran. And after 18 years, she still finds it thrilling. SOUNDBITE: Vivienne Tam, designer, saying (English): "I find Fashion Week is magical. I don't know what happens. Something is just like 'wow, you put it together.' And then the clothes don't arrive, you know, and then the last day it's like, oh my God, it gets finished." This season Wolfe predicts we will see pieces inspired by the 1920s due to the popularity of Oscar nominated film "The Artist", with color leading the way. Tam's Fall 2012 collection seems to be on par with Wolfe's forecast. Over 90 designers will present their collections from February 9 to February 16. Alicia Powell, Reuters.

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