In a previous “JUST SAYING” Posted on February 21, 2015 I spoke about “CANADIAN FASHION AND SHOWING IT IN CANADA AND THE CONSTANT WHINE OF WHY SHOULD WE HAVE TO GO SOMEWHERE ELSE, WHY CAN’T WE BE WORLD FAMOUS RIGHT HERE”. I bring it up as some of the same is being said in the New York Times (article following) and I like to know that I am not alone in my thoughts.

I am adding that the “recognized” twice-annual-fashion-week which now includes; Haute Couture in Paris, Les Métiers de Chanel, shown in different cities globally, the Ready-To-Wear, shown in Paris, London, Milan and New York and the Pre-Season-collections, shown-where-they-chose-seemingly-when-they-chose…OMG…is a nightmare, for those on the inside, let alone the-customer-yes-the bottom-line-the-buck-stops-here-final-purchaser-of-the-goods.

So, why-not-Paris as the one-stop-for-all, and every other country does it’s own thing, and the editors, et al, can select from them at random, seasonly, with their now-spare-time and keep them all (and us) in the loop. They did it in the eighties, Spain being one of those chosen, we met the culture and the designers, I can still clearly recall the designer Sybilla’s clothes in Vogue, and in Bloomingdales, and even in Toronto. An introduction can go a long way.

So whether a designer choses to go-global-and-go-to-Paris, or stay-here-in-their-home-and-possibly-native-possibly-chosen-land, they could still be noticed and respected, and better yet, purchased.

Are New Fashion Capitals on the Rise?


Vanessa Friedman
JUNE 4, 2015


One of the thorniest questions in fashion today is brand nationality.

Tom Ford just won the Menswear Designer of the Year award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America — but his brand is based in London, and he shows on the British fashion calendar. So is his brand British, or American?

When Marques’Almeida, also based in London, won the LVMH Young Designer’s Prize last month, I called the label a British brand — even though both its designers are Portuguese — and some readers felt that was misleading. Yet again, the brand is based in and sells in Britain.

The problem is that, historically, the big four economic centers of the industry (New York, London, Paris and Milan) have been the place to be for a designer, no matter his or her nationality. If you’re not based there, or showing there, you’re, well, risking being overlooked.

Which is why a new exhibition at the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology is interesting. Global Fashion Capitals opened this week (through Nov. 14) and posits the idea that other cities are now on the rise as fashion centers, so designers have more options when it comes to work sites that match their identities. And that the process by which the New York, London, Paris and Milan axis was born is repeating itself elsewhere — like, for example, Sydney, Australia; Tokyo; Lagos, Nigeria; and Mexico City, among 19 others in the exhibition. Most of which, by the way, have their own fashion weeks. (These days every country on the map seems to have a fashion week. Some, like Brazil, have two.)


Could the dominance of New York, London, Paris and Milan be threatened? Will they fall? All empires do, in the end. But I’m not convinced we are there yet.

There’s a stamp of approval that comes from being part of the inner clique — in some ways, fashion is not that different from high school — and that clique is the big four.

We constantly speculate, for example, about what the first big global brand to come out of China will be. Yet every time I speak to a Chinese brand, I am told that Chinese consumers want the patina of Paris on their products, so the first thing a Chinese brand needs to do is make it in Europe.

It’s why, for example, back in the day, the Antwerp Six came to Paris to show; ditto Yohji Yamamoto and Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons. It’s why Manish Arora, who has garments in the exhibit and who is from India, still shows in Paris.

Though we often write about the proliferation of fashion weeks, aside from the axis, they remain, in terms of influence and coverage, quite local.

To really threaten the big four, an emergent fashion capital would need not just the designer and infrastructure buy-in, but the consumer buy-in, too. I keep harping on this, but fashion, despite the fact that it likes to think it is edgy, is actually a very conservative, stuck-in-its-ways industry.

Besides, the axis has a vested interest in maintaining a lock on the industry: The economic benefits of being a fashion capital are not lost on the respective municipal and national governments. Which is, in turn, partly why other countries have woken up to the fact that being a fashion capital might be a financially and culturally beneficial idea. Follow the money.

Personally, I think it will take a drastic upheaval in the form of the show system itself — maybe its entire dissolution and reconfiguration — to redefine the meaning of a fashion capital, or subvert it entirely. In the meantime, however, the exhibition is not a bad place to start.


Global Fashion Capitals

Fashion & Textile History Gallery
June 2 – November 14, 2015


The globalization of fashion has given rise to new fashion cities that now annually host hundreds of fashion weeks around the world. Each city’s cultural identity and particular economic, political, and social circumstances combine to elevate its designers to international attention. Global Fashion Capitals explores the history of the established fashion capitals—Paris, New York, Milan, and London—and the emergence of 16 new fashion cities.

The exhibition will also examine fashions from:
St. Petersburg/Moscow
Mexico City
Sao Paolo


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