Models prepare backstage during Fashion's Night Out: The Show at Lincoln Center in New York City
Models prepare backstage during Fashion's Night Out: The Show at Lincoln Center in New York City - 
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Kai Ryssdal: If you're in the mood for a little something different tonight, might I suggest something called "Fashion's Night Out." It started last year in New York, mostly as a way to help retailers in the middle of a recession. Now, it has turned into nothing less than a global marketing juggernaut with festivities from Hollywood to Europe. Everybody loves a party, of course. Retailers are hoping this one translates into actual sales.

From North Carolina Public Radio, Janet Babin reports.

Janet Babin: Many clothing stores in major cities will stay open especially late tonight for Fashion's Night Out. Expect champagne, red carpets and designer meet-and-greets in many stores. Just don't expect discounts. This night is all making the full sale.

Simon Doonan's creative director at Barney's New York.

Simon Doonan: We're all in business, we're looking to make a buck, you know, wherever possible.

But Doonan wants shoppers to have fun too. Barney's will feature fashion muses Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen.

Doonan: We're having a karaoke contest with the Olsens; I've designed these flip flops, which I'm selling; we're having musical chairs.

Even with tonight's party atmosphere, shoppers may keep their wallets closed. If August sales reports are any indication, consumers are worried about the shaky economy.

Designer Nanette Lepore hopes Fashion's Night Out takes the edge off.

Nanette Lepore: I actually feel a little more worried about what's going to happen to the world this year than I did last year, because last year you felt like, well it's gonna end soon. This year, you don't know whether you can be as optimistic.

Lepore's clothes are sewn in the city's Garment District. Tonight her New York stores will feature seamstresses making skirts that say, "Made in New York."

I'm Janet Babin for Marketplace.