According to the 2012 Global Language Monitor fashion capital rankings, the top 5 fashion hubs are London (UK), New York (USA), Barcelona (Spain), Paris (France) & Madrid (Spain) respectively (See here for complete ranking). This is the second year in a row that London has earned itself the top ranking.
Despite rankings, there is a widely acknowledged “Big Four” when it comes to naming the biggest fashion hubs in the world – namely Paris, Milan, New York and London.
For men, Italian suiting, quality of fabrics and designs are still the most dominant the world over, with Italian fashion featuring luxurious fabrics and preferring casual elegance over practicality. Milanese fashion is regarded as the most sophisticated and admired, concentrating equally on ready-to-wear clothes as well as haute couture – a term we will discuss in a bit. The list of famous global fashion brands originating from Italy is long with Armani, Dolce Gabbana, Missoni, Emilio Pucci, Versace and Fendi amongst many others.
Paris has an illustrious history as the center of art and fashion, with several highly prestigious and powerful fashion houses such as Christian Dior being situated here. Like Milan, the emphasis in this fashion hub is on elegance rather than being practical when it comes to fashion, with French fashion traditionally leaning towards sophistication and style. The focus in Paris is on ‘haute couture’, a category for which it consistently tops the world rankings amongst fashion hubs.
Haute couture is made-to-order, custom-fitted clothing that is sewn with extreme attention to detail using time-consuming and often hand-executed techniques on high-quality and expensive fabrics. Couture stands for dressmaking while haute means elegant or high.
American fashion design is dominated by a clean-cut, urban and casual style that reflects the athletic, health-conscious lifestyles of American city-dwellers. The highest concentration of fashion houses in the US is found in New York, followed by Los Angeles (second largest fashion hub in the States), with famous brands like Levis and Calvin Klein being based in the States.
British designs are smart but innovative though recent trends are leaning towards the unconventional, by fusing traditional styles with modern techniques. The old is often mixed with the new in styling that gives a bohemian aesthetic to British fashion. A common high fashion brand originating from this fashion hub in the UK is Burberry.
The Big Four fashion hubs hold Fashion Weeks biannually, which allows fashion designers, brands & houses to show off their latest collections – thereby setting the fashion trends for the year.
Although many count fashion trends as important to follow and keep abreast of, it can get rather expensive to keep up, as fashion is constantly changing. This is why we at Hucklebury like to place emphasis on ‘style’, which is a very personal thing that individuals create for themselves, with their own interpretations of fashion. We encourage our readers to develop their own unique styles rather than chase transient fashion trends, and The Effortless Gent agrees with us.