When you think of the best city for fashion, what comes to mind? With the dawn of the Internet and the fashion magazine, individuals around the world have access to see what styles are shown both on the runway and on the street. That being said, there are some questions about what city the true fashion capital of the world is. Is it New York? Paris? Or is it somewhere lesser known like Tokyo? Each of the below-listed cities have earned their places as important fashion cities, but where exactly is the fashion capital?
Located in Northern Italy, Milan was once known as the fashion capital of the world. This city has been known for its involvement in fashion since the 16th century, and even its name is based on its penchant for style: ‘Milan’ comes from the word ‘milaner,’ which refers to one who makes hats. Popular in the mid-21st century, Milan was the home runway for many well-known designers like Gucci, Valentino, and Prada. Now that more cutting-edge designers are on the rise, Milan is no longer considered to be the primary fashion capital.
Tokyo has always been a hotbed of street fashion as well as haute couture; Nicola Formachetti, Issey Miyake, and Uniqlo are based out of Japan, and kawaii, harajuku, and other myriads of street fashion abound. Hip hop and guyaru are styles that borrow from western stereotypes while mixing with an off-the-wall Japanese flair, and lolita involves dressing as a very feminine with either a goth, punk, or futuristic flair. It’s a world all its own!
London, arguably the most well-known city in the United Kingdom, is another contender to be the fashion capital of the world. London represents a coalescing of many different cultures, which shapes its unique runway and street style. Indian, Punk, and Goth culture are all represented in London to create a truly unique look that can’t be found anywhere else. Groundbreaking designers like Burberry, Alexander McQueen, and Stella McCartney are based out of this fair city, and have helped to shape the avant-garde street fashion that is seen daily. London is a great contender to be the fashion capital, however there are two other cities that upend its title.
Paris, that gorgeous city of light, is also chosen to be one of the top fashion capitals of the world. France is well-known as the first culture to truly push fashion out into the world and make a true industry from it. The attribution of fashion to France first started with King Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette, who were obsessed with looking like royalty. Looking the part included lavish gowns, powdered wigs, and precious jewelry. Famous designers like Yves Saint Laurent, Chanel, and Dior call this city home, and the groundbreaking designs seen on their runways shape what is seen in shops worldwide.
New York City was recently named by the Global Language Monitor as the world’s fashion capital for its trendy residents and influential designers. Donna Karan (DKNY), Marc Jacobs, Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, and Christian Siriano all operate out of The Big Apple, and are highly influential on the designs that we see in ready-to-wear shops like H&M and Zara.
In my opinion, the true fashion capital of the world is Paris. This city literally has fashion stitched into its history and continues to be a driving force for the pret-a-porter fashions that we all wear today. Where would we be today without Coco Chanel’s little black dress, YSL’s iconic bags, or Chloe’s ethereal gowns? Paris truly is and always will be the fashion capital of the world, no matter what the official rankings say.