New York is easily the fashion capital of the US, and considering the size of the American consumer market, for many people that makes it one of the top fashion cities in the world. According to a list from Austin, TX based internet analysis company Global Language Monitor, that’s not quite enough to make it number one though. What is enough? How about a blue blood wedding, a newly minted princess with a mostly attainable wardrobe/style, and one design house with a genius founder and brilliant successor (who also played a role in said wedding). Come on down London, you’ve officially been crowned as the internet’s favorite fashion capital.
But is it?
When it comes to socialites, the US has Paris Hilton and the UK has Daphne Guiness. Not even close there. When it comes to hats, you may laugh, but Princess Beatrice won that one too. And sure, it’s true that London’s style ambassador, the former Kate Middleton, can move a dress per minute (or more) with just one outing; and even American companies want nothing to do with our style exports (*cough* Dirty Jersey), but we’re still not sure if the rankings apply in the true fashion world.
Paris is ranked third, behind London and New York respectively, but we’d posit that few people working in fashion would place the French fashion capital at anything lower than number 2 – if that. While London is undeniable when it comes to design talent and sartorial risk taking, Alexander McQueen, John Galliano (who, for all his social failings, is still a talented designer) and even current London top dog Burberry all built their brands in Paris. Burberry made a patriotic return to the UK a few years ago, but when it comes to anchor brands, no one does it better than the City of Lights. Plus, when it comes to making a move into European, Middle Eastern and even Asian stores and press, designers have a presence in Paris because they know that buyers and reporters will have a presence in Paris. Visit Paris during fashion week and you’ll see brands from around the world – including New York, London and Milan – represented at tradefairs, in showrooms and on catwalks.
And New York? Well, sportswear and safe bets may not push the envelope, but it turns out that sometimes staying inside the box can be the beginning of a billion dollar brand. As a fashion capital, New York may not have the history of Paris, but it does have the money.
Though London is putting in a strong effort to support homegrown talent and British brands, it’s still a city largely seen as an incubator for talent, as opposed to a commercial center. While that might not be as sexy as the raw creativity London is famous for, it’s the one thing that New York, Paris and Milan – the cities that make up the top 4 fashion capitals, have in common.
And we’d argue, the one thing that would keep London from truly being number one for fashion.