Milan: The Fashion Capital of the World
Starting off, which cities are fighting for the title of ‘The Fashion Capital of the world’?
Which city do you think is the fashion capital?
It is really up to personal opinion when deciding which city should take the lead.
Lets start with Paris…
Paris’s fashion industry, as you probably already know, is a deep-rooted aspect of French culture. As a matter of fact, it proudly dazzled in the spotlight after being the first to recognise clothing as a business.
Did the foundation of fashion in France spark its title of The Fashion Capital of the World?
Since the 16th Century, Paris has been home to many acclaimed designers. Lets take Rose Bertin as an example. She was a milliner, dress-maker and designer for the Queen. The eccentric pieces were specially made for her to attend the Palace of Versailles. Marie Antoinette – the last Queen of France before the French Revolution – together with her ‘minister of fashion’ Rose Bertin, elevated fashion and clothes from a trade to an artform. By taking fashion to new heights, quite literally, she inspired the nation. Not too dissimilar to how young Royals today such as Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton are influencing fashion. Some people believe that Bertin and Queen Marie Antoinette are the reason that the concept of ‘celebrity style’ became so immersed in society. As we all know, this is still very much the case.
Many years later, tailors in Paris began to mass produce affordable clothing in the 60s. Yves Saint Laurent was the first Parisian Designer to launch a ready-to-wear line. Specifically, his ideas were instigated because of the May 1968 Anti-Establishment protests in Paris. In turn, this allowed women to completely ditch the corsets and wear looser fitted clothing. Hurrah! After this absolute revolution, the fashion industry was booming and the Paris Fashion Week was born (1971). Fashion week brought thousands of people into to Paris, inspiring fashionistas left right and centre. Today, the high fashion in Paris is still favoured whilst prestigious brands such as Chanel, Givenchy and Dior continue to call the city home.
What is fashion week?
Fashion week is a clothing trade show held semi-annually in Milan, Paris, New York and London where fashion lovers, industry professionals and journalists all come together to be presented fashion collections of the most renowned designers in the world.
New York is certainly the Fashion Capital of America, but what about the Fashion Capital of the world?
People say that New York deserves to be crowned the Fashion Capital of the World due to the sheer multitude of fashion influencers and fashion companies performing there. As well as that, it is believed to have over 900 fashion companies with their headquarters based in the city. A business’ headquarters tends to be in the most prestigious location to help to attract business partners, customers and other businesses. There is a huge retail market in New York, similar to all the cities featured in this article. The city is home to many major fashion publications such as Vogue which showcases everything fashion. Magazines such as Vogue are a huge influence to people around the globe. Fashion week, fashion trade shows and showrooms attract the eyes of thousands of people throughout the year. New York City has over 5,000 fashion industry showrooms, more than any other city in the world.
How did it all start?
Taking it way back to the 1910-20s. This was the decade of the New York City Suffrage Parade which changed the course of history. Woman’s fashion was becoming daring and rebellious.
Quickly fast-forwarding to the 1950s the fashion icon Marilyn Monroe chose audacious outfits which appalled some whilst captivating others. Her style has inspired many modern trends in the market today. Now, fast-forwarding again to the 1990’s, a curious time for fashion. The TV show Sex and the City was aired. A show that reignited peoples passion for fashion, innovation and style.
The city of London can also be viewed as the Fashion Capital of the World. Some say that this is due to the vast diversity of the City. Its huge multi-cultural population strengthens the fashion industry by attracting people from all areas of the world. London, has been celebrated year after year for being the European hatchery for some of the world’s most thriving fashion talents. The most commonly known ones are Burberry, Vivienne Westwood, Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney and Sir Paul Smith.
London’s fashion industry has not always been so innovative and high-end. In fact, back in Medieval Britain, the city was known for dominating the industry for importing and exporting goods including silk, embroideries and fur. It became a hub for the richest and most influential people in the country. Being home to Royals such as Henry VII, Elizabeth I and Charles I drove the influence of luxury fashion and true English style. Later, in the 18th Century, the London fashion industry blossomed. Luxury sharp tailoring, shape-hugging gowns and high-quality materials all became prominent in the scene. This encouraged craftsmen and clothing entrepreneurs to set up business in the city. Next, moving into the 20th Century, London’s fashion became rebellious and eccentric. This drove London to be seen as the most major trend-setting capitals of the world.
Is Milan The Fashion Capital of the World?
Italian fashion became prominent during the 11th to 16th centuries. This was when cities such as Florence, Milan and Rome started to produce luxury goods. Artistic development in Italy was at its peak. It is said that Florence actually saw the birth of Italian style. This is because of Giovan Battista Giorgini, an Italian entrepreneur who in 1951 organized the first “fashion parade” to attract the attention of American buyers. This proved to be rather successful. Now, although Milan actually held their first Italian Fashion Week in 1951, it only gained its reputation as the most glamorous fashion week out of the four by harnessing sales of ready-to-wear lines. In fact, once Milan-based designers including Giorgio Armani and Gianni Versace became wildly popular in the 1970-80s the city’s status sky-rocketed.
Milan is known for holding the most luxurious places to shop. There is a wealth of independent fashion boutiques to discover. It is home to The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II as seen above which is Italy’s oldest active shopping mall and a major landmark of Milan, Italy. Housed within a four-story double arcade in the centre of town, the Galleria is named after Victor Emmanuel II. Actually, he was the first king of the Kingdom of Italy. This landmark is known to attract visitors from all over the world.
Notably, it is said that all four cities are constantly in battle as to who should hold the title of “The Fashion Capital of the World”. But, which city do you think deserves it the most?