Fashion World Tightens Its Belt

CBS Evening News: Designers cutting back at New York City Fashion Week.

(AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)

(CBS) Every spring, the spotlight hits the runway for a look at the fall season's new trends. But this Fashion Week, many designers are tailoring their presentations to the economy, dropping the catwalk altogether.

Designer Betsey Johnson is showing her new collection inside her design studio. She gave CBS News correspondent Michelle Miller a sneak peak.

"We're kind of in the depression groove and it is very nice that I can save about two-thirds of my typical budget," Johnson said. "I don't like to talk money because everybody always lies."

"Not you though?" Miller asked.

"Not me," Johnson said, laughing.

No longer able to ignore the economic downturn, designers are cutting back.

There are four fewer runway shows this year compared to last spring. Dismal holiday sales, where luxury retail fell 34 percent from the year before, didn't help.

"This season is not about having the most glittery celebs in your front row," said Cindi Leive, the editor in chief of Glamour magazine. "It is about showing the buyers something that they can bring into stores and that women will want to wear."

Opting out of a live show, Alice Temperley is showcasing her spring line on video before it hits the Web.

But others, like design team Cushnie et Ochs, are keeping with tradition, thanks in part to a $25,000 grant from the Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation.

"It's just lightened the burden," said Carly Cushnie.

Cushnie and Ochs hit the fashion scene last fall, just as the economy tanked.

At 66, Johnson has more than four decades of experience weathering tough times.

"The whole time zone of my '80s vintage pretty much was really bad," Johnson said. "I sold everything off in little $10 bins in our stores."

Staying lean over the next few years, Johnson said, is her recipe for survival.

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