Style and fashion is very important to a lot of people – and as they say, especially more so for LGBT people. Shopping is also a favourite hobby, particularly to travellers and tourists who like to go abroad and shop for things they might not find at home or will find cheaper and more of elsewhere. But there are a certain handful of places around the world that are well-known for their abundance of fashion brands and retailers, their influence on the fashion industry and the unique styles their inhabitants or celebrities have – and these are called “fashion capitals”.
Below we have listed some of the world’s top “fashion capitals” that usually appear in or at the top of a list compiled by Global Language Monitor, and explain why we love them and think you would too if you visited that city:
Number one on the list for two years running and consistently in the top five, London has eclectic fashion culture, where there is a vast array of different types of people with varying styles, from chic to casual, from rocky to sporty and from quirky and bold.
Last year Kate Middleton and the Summer Olympics were noted as being big influences on London’s ranking as a fashion capital and many celebrities including models Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell and David Gandy as well as David Beckham and Vivienne Westwood are famed for their stylish wardrobes. Famous designers from London include Ray Kelvin (founder of Ted Baker), the late Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney and the infamous Editor-in-Chief of Vogue magazine, Anna Wintour was also born in London. London Fashion Week is held in February and September every year (13th-17th this year).
Paris has long been a reigning city when it comes to fashion and has a history that dates back quite a few centuries when even the frocks and other attire they wore back then was considered stylish and revolutionary. Paris may be one of the more expensive cities but some may argue that the fashion is worth it. Some of Paris’ native fashion designers are René Lacoste, Christian Louboutin and Jean Paul Gaultier and Eugène Schueller, founder of the world’s largest cosmetics company, L’Oréal, was born in Paris where its headquarters are still located.
Other cosmetics and beauty companies that were founded by Parisians or are located in Paris include Clarins and Lancôme, while other famous fashion brands that are based there with flagship stores and headquarters are Chanel, Christian Dior, Christian Lacroix, Yves Saint Laurent, Louis Vuitton and Givenchy. Out of the four top Fashion Weeks around the world, Paris’ is sometimes seen as the biggest and most important (as famously quoted in “The Devil Wears Prada”), where the tour ends, and takes place annually in February and September (24th September to 2nd October this year). A separate event will be held for menswear from 26th June to 4th July.
While Rome may be the Italian capital and known for its more historical background, Milan is the at forefront of modern Italy, particularly when it comes to fashion. A vast majority of fashion houses, flagship stores and headquarters are based in Milan, for example Armani, Prada, D&G, Versace and Ermenegildo Zegna. Italy is home to a wealth of fashion designers and some that are from Milan include Stefano Gabbana (Dolce &), Miuccia and Mario Prada and Gianfranco Ferré. Milan Fashion Week takes place in February-March and September-October every year (18th-23rd September this year).
New York is the USA’s leader in fashion and it’s not hard to see why with hundreds of brands and boutiques lining the streets of the Big Apple and with it being home to “Sex and the City” and “The Devil Wears Prada”, probably the most fashionable TV show and film ever made. Notable designers that hail from New York are Marc Jacobs, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger and Vera Wang. New York Fashion Week was first held back in 1943 and alongside London, Paris and Milan is one of the four major shows in the world, taking place every February and September (6th-13th this year).
Tokyo is undoubtedly a world leader when it comes to fashion – especially eccentric and quirky fashion. Japan’s modern fashion mixes both traditional Harajuku-type styles with that of funky and almost other-worldly looks, that would probably look out of place and gain quite a few strange glances from people elsewhere, but in Japan is quite common.
Even western stars such as Gwen Stefani and Lady Gaga have been influenced by Japanese fashion and some of Tokyo’s most prominent fashion designers include creator of brand Comme des Garçons, Rei Kawakubo, Nicola Formichetti (the current artistic director of Diesel) and Akira Takeuchi and Tayuka Nakanishi, founders and designers of Theatre Products, which is a popular Harajuku-inspired youth fashion brand in Tokyo. Tokyo’s Fashion Week, sponsored by Mercedes-Benz (same as New York’s) usually takes place every March.
6) Hong Kong
Hong Kong combines both Asian (Chinese and Japanese) and Western (American, British and European) styles together well and it is where many of the first foreign brands enter China and set up flagship stores, such as high street retailers H&M and Topman and high-end leaders like Louis Vuitton and Burberry. Hong Kong’s fashion industry boomed throughout the 90s and is still one of the most popular Asian cities when it comes to style.
Hong Kong’s most famous designers include Titi Kwan – who worked with famous singer Faye Wong in the 90s, David Tang who founded the brand Shanghai Tang, and most John Rocha, whose collections can be seen most notably in department stores such as Debenhams. Like other major style capitals, Hong Kong has two separate Fashion Weeks throughout the year – one in January for the autumn and winter collections and again in July for the spring and summer collections.
Other cities that are worthy of note – and many of which made the top ten in the official Global Language Monitor list last year – include Barcelona (3rd), Berlin (10th), Los Angeles (no doubt influenced by the high number of celebrities), São Paulo (the highest-ranking in South American) Shanghai (the only city in mainland China) and Dubai (the only city in the Middle East).