A fashion capital is a city which has a major influence on international fashion trends and is a key centre for the fashion industry, in which activities including the design, production and retailing of fashion products; fashion events (such as fashion weeks and awards); and fashion-related trade fairs generate significant economic output. Fashion capitals usually have a broad mix of business, financial, entertainment, cultural and leisure activities and are internationally recognised for having a unique and strong identity.
Fashion and political power have often intertwined across history, which can be seen in classical history, where the major political powers of the world, such as Alexandria, Athens, and Rome were leaders in their respective eras and parts of the world, when it came to clothing.
Historically, several cities have been, in turn, fashion capitals. Furthermore, during the Renaissance era, different city-states in what would become modern-day Italy were Europe's main trendsetters, due to the cultural power that these cities exerted in that period of time; this includes cities such as Florence, Milan, Rome, Naples, Genoa, and Venice.
Progressing into the late-16th century, with the influence of the Elizabethan era, the English Royal Court, specifically when London-based, became a major city in European fashion. Similarly, due to the power of Spain at the period, the Spanish court started to influence fashion, making it a major centre. In the 17th century, as the Renaissance started to fade away, with the power of the French court under Louis XIV, Paris established itself as Europe's main fashion centre, remaining the world's undisputed fashion capital until the 1960s and 1970s.
Again, during the Victorian era, with the powerful British Empire, London once again became a major fashion centre, while often looking to Paris for stylistic inspiration. Throughout the 20th century, with the post-war US economic growth, New York City grew as a fashion capital. And during the 1950s, Florence re-emerged as a leading city in haute couture. Paris' dominance of the fashion world lasted until the 1960s. In the 1980s, Milan, with its everyday, practical chic, and minimalistic fashion houses, reinforced its place as the most important fashion capital of the world at the time. However, since then, new fashion centers have emerged worldwide, and the old order has been subject to much change, with inspiration coming from all corners of the globe, including Africa, Asia, and South America.
Global Language Monitor rankings
The Top Global Fashion Capital Rankings are listed below, in the format: Position, City, Change from 2012, and comment.
- New York (+1) — The Big Apple is back on top of the fashion world by slipping past Paris by .5%.
- Paris (+2) – The Top Global Fashion Capital for Haute Couture is surprisingly strong in pret-a-porter, also.
- London (-2) – London has enjoyed a fabulous two-year run and is now secure in its place in the top echelon for global fashion.
- Los Angeles (+5) – Zut alors! Tinsel Town in the Top Four? The result of the melding of the Red Carpet, the Industry (film, of course), and West Coast cool.
- Barcelona (-2) – España, again, places two Fashion Capitals in the Top Fifteen. Barcelona also wins the Top Fashion Capital for Swimwear.
- Rome (0) — Rome may have Seven Hills but Italy now has Three Fashion Capitals (and Milan is No. 2).
- Berlin (+3) – Berlin continues its steady rise moving deeper into the the elite ranks.
- Sydney (+7) – Sydney towers over OZ distancing (and distinguishing) itself, once again, from Melbourne.
- Antwerp (+2) – Ah Antwerp, reverberations of the avant garde Antwerp Six continues into the 21st century.
- Shanghai (+12) – As China further emerges onto the world stage, Shanghai leads the fashion charge.
- Tokyo (+9) – Tokyo made a leap in 2013 that many consider long overdue.
- Milano (-4) – Milan was the Top Global Fashion Capital back in 2009 and remains a strong contender for the top spot year-after-year.
- Florence (+3) – Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Botticelli — A proud heritage to a thriving fashion industry in 2013.
- Madrid (-9) – Still strong in 2013, further cementing its place among the elite Fashion Capitals.
- Sao Paulo (-8) – Again, the Queen of Latin American Fashion Capitals.
- St. Petersburg (+35) – Russian comes into 2014 with two Fashion Capitals in the Top Twenty, with Petrograd surprising Moscow.
- Moscow (+18) – Apparently a rising tide does, indeed, raise all ships as Moscow comes back strong from 2012.
- Singapore (+1) – Basically standing in place (and a good place to stand) but now trailing both Shanghai and Tokyo.
- Miami (+20) – Miami is, indeed, more than swimwear; and the fashion world apparently recognizes it.
- Hong Kong (-8) – Down another eight spots this year but still a strong global presence.
- Prague (+24) – Prague continues its well-deserved ascension up the Fashion Capital ladder.
- New Delhi (+26) – A major move for Delhi, the result of ‘sticking to the knitting’ (its traditional strengths) and focusing on them.
- Krakow (+10) – Krakow continues it curious and continuous expansion of influence.
- Warsaw (+19) – Warsaw, too, is finding its stride as a major regional player.
- Dallas (+21) – The Big D is now the top US regional Fashion Capital.
- Melbourne (-5) – Still solid but falling further behind Sydney in the race for the OZ title.
- Cape Town (+27) – In a major surprise, Cape Town leaps over Jo-burg or, rather, Jo-burg falls behind the Mother City.
- Rio de Janeiro (-11) – Rio, which has the upcoming World Cup and Summer Olympics in 2016, needs to keep pace with Sao Paulo.
- Chicago (+21) – The City of Big Shoulders continues to reach out as a global fashion contender.
- Buenos Aires (-17) – Buenos Aires’s native-born son, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, has won a major fashion award, as the city itself flourishes as a regional Fashion Capital.
- Dubai (-3) – A burgeoning global presence and the No. 1 Fashion Capital in the Middle East.
- Toronto (+21) – Makes a major move to take the lead in Canada, over Toronto (by one) and Montreal (by 15).
- Vancouver (-2) – VanCity is developing its own, distinctive fashion sense, finding admirers the world over.
- Las Vegas (-10) – Las Vegas is attempting to build a brand-new fashion infrastructure.
- Amsterdam (-8) – Creative impulses continue to flow outward from the Netherlands.
- Stockholm (-4) – Stockholm is now the Nordic Fashion Capital, with good reason.
- Johannesburg (-19) – Jo-burg, continues in its role as a major regional center influencer.
- Vienna (-1) – The ancient imperial citadel continues to exert its classic fashion sense.
- Bali (-25) – Bali is a serious Fashion Capital for Swimwear, a strong annual contender.
- Boston ( 4) – Boston brings a classic sense of traditional American design with flashes of innovation.
- Mexico City (+6) – Finding its footing as a major Latin American Fashion Capital
- Houston (+7) – One of the three Texas cities to emerge in recent years.
- Copenhagen (-13) – Copenhagen and Stockholm continue to contend for leadership in the Nordic World.
- Monaco (-19) – Monte Carlo is, well, Monte Carlo.
- Mumbai (-7) – Over the last few years Delhi has surpassed Mumbai as the Fashion Capital of the Subcontinent.
- Atlanta (+9) – Atlanta, is now the Fashion Capital, as well as the Capital of the New South.
- Santiago (-21) – A solid, yet idiosyncratic, fashion presence in the sphere of Latin American Fashion.
- Montreal (+4) – An Old World presence in a thriving New World metropolis.
- Caracas (-26) – Working hard to maintain its traditional yet advanced fashion sensibilities.
- San Francisco (-9) – Continues to thrive as one of the two centers of outre (and odd) fashion in the US.
- Abu Dhabi (-11) – There are more vibrant outposts of fashion that are contending to replace Abu Dhabi on this list.
- Bangkok (-23) – Bangkok’s fashion reputation reflected the decline of civil order in Thailand.
- Austin (-11) – The other thriving center of outre (and odd) fashion in the US.
- Frankfurt (-18) – Berlin’s towering fashion stature overshadows Franfurt am Main.
- Seoul (-21) – The emerging Fashion Capital continues to build on its distinctive sense of Asian style.
- Fashion week, for a partial list of cities with fashion weeks.
||This article uses bare URLs for citations, which may be threatened by link rot. (January 2013)|
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- Vogue - 5 most important fashion weeks in the world
- New York Regains Fashion Capital Crown from Milan Global Language Monitor Retrieved 2010-11-11
- London Overtakes New York as Top Global Fashion Capital Global Language Monitor Retrieved August 17, 2011