Just like the tides of culture ebb and flow, so do those of fashion. Five Top Fashion Cities to visit around the world and the reasons that make them such great options. Look at a shortlist of Fashion Cities.
However, there are certain cultural headquarters that serve as the heart, brain, and nervous system of all of the fashion as we know it. These style centers have shaped the runway world since its not-so-humble beginnings, and they’ve kept their grip on fashion lovers everywhere ever since.
The fashion capitals of the world include Paris, New York, London, and Milan, with Tokyo swiftly rising to meet them as a trailblazer in the avant-garde.
So what sets these dazzling metropolises apart? Read on for our lowdown on these must-see fashion destinations.
5 of the Top Fashion Cities
What Beyonce is to the music world, Paris is to the fashion world—royalty. Dating back to the 18th century, but arguably even before, France established itself as a fashionable force to be reckoned with thanks to its provocative dress, shameless opulence, and early economic prowess.
Paris has maintained its esteem in the fashion industry by staying ahead of the curb with the newest styles and trends. But more importantly, it’s the fashion capital of the world because it is precisely where that very industry was born.
The father of Haute Couture, Charles Worth—ironically, a visiting Englishman (but don’t tell the French that)—founded the style in the mid 19th century when he began putting his label on clothes and displaying them on live models. Today, Paris still dominates the fashion landscape thanks to its iconic couture houses and influential fashion week.
To understand why Paris maintains such a strong grip on this thriving industry, simply take a look at some of the brands that call it home:
- Louis Vuitton
- Donna Karan
Your Paris Lookbook: If you’re looking to strut your stuff down the Champs-Élysées, make sure to do it in style. For an iconically Parisian look, pair an oversized (but perfectly chic) white knit turtleneck over flowy cream slacks. For a warmer ensemble, replace the pullover with a charming denim shirt. Top it off with some strappy black heels, a red lip, and a loose bun and voilà—vous êtes jolie!
Remember, despite what the Kardashian-Jenner clan might make you feel, you don’t need big ta-tas to be a stylish star in Paris—if you only wear AAA bras, you’ll fit right into the city of love’s fashion sphere.
#2 New York
New York rose to be a powerhouse during World War II, while Germany was occupying Paris. Since then, the Big Apple has helped shape the dominant trends of national and international fashion alike.
With a deeper focus on innovation than its more traditional predecessor, NYC fashion houses and designers find themselves at the forefront of creative styling, unique tailoring, and emerging materials.
Your NYC Lookbook: For an NYC look that would make the Sex and the City girls trip over their Manolo Blahniks, layer a long, satin blazer in a dark blue jewel tone over a long skirt. Wear some faux-snakeskin stiletto booties underneath and don’t leave the hotel without a chic leather clutch.
Known for its classic edge and distinctive place in the history of global fashion, London is an unshakeable force in the industry. Here, you’ll find that a host of fashion’s most iconic designers and design houses made their start, including:
- Stella McCartney
- Vivienne Westwood
- Alexander McQueen
- Paul Smith
Your London Lookbook: London’s very own Carnaby Street is the proud birthplace of both the hippie and mod style of fashion, so it’s only fitting that you harken back to the retro looks of the 60s and 70s with a funky jumpsuit and some chunky, bright booties.
Ah, Milan. This cosmopolitan fashion capital is known for its celebration of the modern amidst a country with a rich, ancient history. This city has staked its claim as a top spot for fashion thanks to its Quadrilatero d’Oro, or golden rectangle—a group of four streets that boast only the most creative and trailblazing minds in fashion today:
- Fausto Puglisi
- Giuseppe Zanotti
- Dolce and Gabbana
- Roberto Cavalli
Your Milan Lookbook: For this look, you’ll want to sweep everyone off their feet with a romantic combo of kitten heels, a macrame purse, and an embroidered mini dress. Billowy sleeves are a must.
Tokyo is a fashion city that has pushed the boundaries of innovation in fashion, pioneering movements in sustainable fashion, eccentric looks, and cutting edge couture.
Here, you’ll find trendsetters that defy your wildest dreams and reinvent what it means to wear clothes. If you ever visit (and believe us, you should), watch out for these exciting fashion houses:
- Yu Amatsu
- Chisato Tsumori
- Yoshio Kybo
- Shinsuke Takizawa
- Yuki Hashimoto
Your Tokyo Lookbook: Looking fly in Tokyo is all about letting your freak flag fly—but make it fashion. Focus on developing your unique street style by pairing cool, baggy pants with chunky sneakers and an eye-catching tee. In this high-tech city, a statement trench coat is everything.
Make Your Hometown Your Own Fashion City
No matter where you go to take inspiration for your next lookbook or vision board, don’t forget to look around you. Observe your local birds or note the subtle architectural details in your downtown area. Rummage through your mom’s closet for some must-have hand-me-downs.
Who knows? Your biggest style inspo might be right around the corner.
Whether you need to fly thousands of miles or just walk a few feet to get there, your fashion mecca is waiting. Now go strut your stuff until you find it! Work it, girl.