Organisers of this autumn's designer catwalk shows have agreed to swap their preview dates so New York designers will not have to hold their shows on the first anniversary of the September 11 terrorist atrocities.

In a statement, 7th on Sixth, organisers of New York Fashion Week, the Council of Fashion Designers of America and the British Fashion Council announced the revised dates for the Spring 2003 collections as September 12-17 in London and September 18-23 in New York.

The three groups said the fashion calendar would revert to normal next year and that the New York event had been cut by two days to reduce the impact of the Milan shows which run from September 23 to October 1.

But the move is sure to anger some British designers who say US buyers are unlikely to travel to the UK from September 12-17, and then return to the US between September 18-23, only to cross the Atlantic again for the final European leg in Milan and Paris.

British Fashion Council chairman, Nicholas Colderidge, commented: "We are pleased to be able to put in place a solution that will enable all designers to put on their collections without infringing on the important first anniversary of September 11.

"In times such as this it's imperative that the fashion industry shows solidarity and support for their colleagues worldwide."