Fast food giant’s coffee grabs the spotlight with freebies under the tents at Bryant Park.
Photo by Bloomberg News

Photo by Bloomberg News

Adrianne Paquarelli reports in Crain’s New York that Fashion designers are not the only ones debuting collections at Fashion Week.

In a sign of the tough times, fast-food giant McDonald’s, which revealed its corporate sponsorship of Fashion Week earlier this month, is getting high marks for its line of fancy lattés, cappuccinos and hot chocolates.

Experts wonder what the sponsorship means for the glitz and glamour associated with Fashion Week.

“It says something that we’ve gone from Mercedes-Benz to McDonald’s,” said Susan Scafidi, intellectual property and fashion law professor at Fordham University School of Law. “The tenor of Fashion Week is changing as organizations that want the glitz of Fashion Week to rub off are coming in, and folks who don’t need it are going back to show at their studios.”

A staff of more than 70, many of whom have flown in from McDonald’s Oak Brook, Ill., headquarters, are here to man and promote the company’s McCafé lounge inside the tent’s lobby.

“I’ve heard a lot of positive reactions,” said Oat Ajimasook, an independent stylist attending Fashion Week.

A regular drinker of McDonalds’ “better” beverages, Mr. Ajimasook noted that the quality of the beverages served free of charge at the Fashion Week lounge are even tastier than at the main locations. Those locations serve McCafé beverages for around $2.29, or about a dollar less than Starbucks.

So far, at day four of the event, the McCafé lounge has served more than 13,000 cups of espresso and coffee to the more than 100,000 Fashion Week attendees, according to Sofia Therios, director of U.S. marketing for McDonald’s. That number has already exceeded what the eatery expected to serve for the entire week. Through its Fashion Week sponsorship, McDonald’s is hoping to attract repeat customers to its outposts once the week is over.

Read more in Crain’s New York