20 Top Cities Every Fashion Lover Should Visit

Top Cities for Fashion Lovers


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Top Cities for Fashion Lovers


Fashion is no longer a strictly geographic affair. Thanks to online shopping, even folks in far-flung corners can be as stylish as those scraping by in cities. Boutiques are no longer limited by who walks in the door, but to where they can ship. Still, there are certain cities with an outsized impact on global fashion — not only places where tastes are made, but where fashion houses, rows of stores, and annual fashion week festivities keep them central to worldwide style. Ahead of New York Fashion Week — running Feb. 6-13 — we consulted with the folks at Global Language Monitor and, from their rankings of the top 63 fashion cities in the world, picked 20 worth a visit, starting with the big four.

Top Cities for Fashion Lovers


Michael Kors, Betsey Johnson, Calvin Klein, Derek Lam, Donna Karan, Isaac Mizrahi, and Philip Lim all started here. Parsons, the Fashion Institute of Technology, the Pratt Institute, and LIM are all here bringing along the next generation. Kate Spade, Marc Jacobs, Kenneth Cole, and Ralph Lauren placed their headquarters here. New York City has more than 5,000 fashion showrooms — and hosts more than 75 major fashion trade shows and weeks each year. But when you come here, don't just hug Fifth Avenue: Stylish offerings from Opening Ceremony, Supreme, and other purveyors can be found all over the city.



London gets September's second fashion week, and it's one of the most raucous of Fashion Month. Stella McCartney, Burberry, Temperley, Vivienne Westwood, and the late Alexander McQueen all set up shop here, while magazines, photographers, and buyers cram in to get a look at the season's latest. It's difficult to ignore the bustle of Oxford Street, the bespoke suits of Savile Row, the nostalgia of Carnaby Street and King's Row, or the glow of Harrods in Knightsbridge, but make time to gawk at the more modern window displays of Simone Rocha and Christopher Kane on Mount Street or the newest bespoke tailors on Clifford Street. Despite now being all over the world, Dover Street Market is still worth a stop too.

Los Angeles


The old tropes about Los Angeles fashion point to Hollywood glamour, Rodeo Drive, and mall culture as chief fashion contributions. That's a bit outdated. Rodarte, Buscemi, and Joyrich all call the place home, while Supreme, Fear of God, Undefeated, Odd Future, The Hundreds, and other brands build on the city's near-unparalleled street cred. Great style isn't confined to studio sets, Silver Lake bars, or shopping districts: It's in line at Korean taco trucks, tucked into hidden boutiques in strip malls, and downtown working. You can get an eyeful during L.A. Fashion Week or during the L.A. Fashion Film Festival.



Paris Fashion Week in late September and early October is a boon for the industry — and a time for Parisian houses Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Yves Saint Laurent, and Christian Dior to push the bulk of their new season — but Paris Haute Couture in early July is when the city shows off its best and most eclectic offerings. If you're there, you can check out the displays at Versace, Hermes, and Yves Saint Laurent in the Louvre and Tuileries, take in the grandeur of the Palais Royal, or shop Belle Epoque department stores such as Printemps and Galeries Lafayette on Boulevard Haussmann. For something a bit more budget friendly, try the Marais or find les dépôts-ventes ("deposit and sale") shops throughout the city.

Berlin Fashion Week 2013
Berlin Fashion Week 2013 by Yukiko Matsuoka (CC BY)


Considered an absolute fashion capital back in the '20s, Berlin's evolution has made it a touchstone for countercultural fashion throughout the late 20th and early 21st centuries. The twice-yearly Berlin Fashion Week is among the most innovative, with designer Michael Michalsky's StyleNite serving as its artistic core and fashion trade shows such as Bread&&Butter turning the spotlight on accessible street fashion. Skip the malls and KaDeWe and take in the boutiques at Bikini Berlin, where stores churn every three to 12 months, or enjoy the industrial aesthetic and hardcore hipsterism of the Mulackstrasse, Mitte Kreuzberg, and Neukölln neighborhoods.

Barcelona, Spain


You say Barcelona doesn't have a fashion week? That's weird, because 080 Barcelona has been giving the city two tremendous showcases of Catalonian designers and street style a year since 2008. At any time of year when you're done viewing all the Gaudi sites and want to take something home, skip the Triangle mall and the Chanel, Prada, Santa Eulalia, Saint Laurent, and Miu Miu shops in Paseo de Gracia and head to the boutiques on Las Ramblas or in Born. To really get away with something stylish on the cheap, either Mango or Zara will get you there — though skip Zara if there's already one in your city.

Dubai International Fashion Week
Dubai International Fashion Week


Dubai International Fashion Week is kind of like Dubai itself, using popular fashion and retail experiences from other parts of the globe to attract people to a sprawling megamall in the desert. The week comes in October, but launches with events during Paris' fashion week in September. The city throws international brands and fashion houses at you in places such as the Dubai Mall (largest in the world), Mall of the Emirates (which has its own ski resort), Global Village (like Epcot in mall form) and BurJuman Center (every luxury mall ever), so don't let its fine local boutiques get lost in the mix. After gawking at the superstores and malls, seek out the concept stores and souks.

Show at Fashion Show Mall, Las Vegas
Fashion Show Mall


What happens in Vegas now comes home with you in multiple carry-on shopping bags you have to schlep through McCarran. Since the early '90s, Las Vegas went from a fading casino lounge culture to a family-friendly fun palace to a den of hedonism to its current incarnation: An upscale suburban mall near sports teams. There is no fashion week here or fashion houses — just the giant Fashion Show mall on the strip, where some weekends have live runway shows on the hour. You can pretend you're in any other place in the country and shop at the Premium Outlets or Town Square mall, but to watch high rollers and daiquiri-addled tourists blow big money on clothes from prestigious international houses, you'll need to be under the fake blue skies of the Forum Shops at Caesar's Palace and among the fake canals of the Grand Canal Shops at The Venetian.



On the third week in September, Milan's Fashion Week draws out Armani, Prada, Valentino, and Versace. But this fashion capital is so much more than its big houses: There are 12,000 fashion companies, 800 showrooms, and 6,000 stores. Stick to Via Montenapoleone if you must — Gucci, Prada, Valentino, Bottega Veneta, Salvatore Ferragamo, and Fendi will be glad to have you — but you'd be missing out on gems such as 10 Corso Como, the vintage shops at Corso di Porta Ticinese, and Excelsior.

Singapore Fashion Week 2015
Singapore Fashion Week


The people who were surprised by the box office performance of "Crazy Rich Asians" are going to be stunned unconscious by Singapore's position as longtime fashion hub. It hosts the Asia Fashion Exchange, Audi Fashion Festival Singapore, and an evolving Singapore fashion week. There are independent shops worth seeking out, but mall hopping has become such a key part of Singapore culture that some of the best (and least-expensive) gems are often hiding in their air-conditioned confines. Catch the high-end shops and highlights on Orchard Road, but hit Capitol Piazza, orchardgateway, 112 Katong, and the Star Vista to get out of your comfort zone a bit.

Courtesy of christianwhoukes.nl


It's a center of global commerce: Did you think it wasn't going to have a fashion week? (Or multiples?) Amsterdam Fashion Week in early September isn't just about fashion and opulence: It's a celebration of the talent coming out of Dutch schools such as the Amsterdam Fashion Institute, Gerrit Rietveld Academy, Utrecht School Of The Arts, and Willem De Koning Academy. The Floating Fashion Week and Canal Catwalks that take place along Amsterdam's waterways in May, however, are a bit more loose. Ignore P.C. Hoofstrat and its Gucci and Chanel shops: There's better gawking to be found at celebrity-studded People of the Labyrinths or Marlies Dekkers. Meanwhile, the shops and boutiques of the Nine Streets are slightly downmarket, but more representative of Amsterdam's independent fashion sensibility.

Tokyo Girls Collection
Tokyo Girls Collection


There are few cities as influential in young, cult, and street fashion as Tokyo, a continually evolving blend of styles that bleeds over to U.S. culture a bit at a time from the West Coast and a lot quicker through various subcultures. Gwen Stefani and Avril Lavigne were among those trying to co-opt the Harijuku district's kawaii style in the 2000s, but the styles that populate the Girls Award and Tokyo Girls Collection shows throughout the year suggest they scarcely scratched the surface. While Harijuku is still worth attention, go shopping or people-watching in Shibuya if you're an adult who may actually want to wear what you're seeing.

Little Joe Woman, Bali, Indonesia
Little Joe Woman


No, the big design houses don't descend on this place, and Indonesia's biggest fashion events don't happen here. But years of attracting famous, well-to-do tourists has led to something of a cultural exchange where Balinese fashion is concerned. Seminyak has birthed a Bohemian-chic movement, and designers including Auguste the Label, Magali Pascal, supermodel Gail Elliott's Little Joe Woman, and Paulina Katarina have turned Bali into a leisurewear capital. Seminyak is teeming with bespoke boutiques, so feel free to either shop or take in the stylish folks who fill its streets.

Centrestage, Hong Kong


Often considered a stuffy business center and overshadowed by more outwardly fashionable Shanghai, Hong Kong doesn't get nearly enough credit as a fashion hub. Sure, there's Hong Kong Fashion Week in the winter, but Hong Kong's far less businesslike fashion showcase is Centrestage in early September. To see what will be worn on Causeway Bay and in Central in the next few months (or knocked off in Mongkok shortly thereafter), Centrestage will have it.

Seoul, Korea


From food to music to technology, Korea is having a cultural moment. Why wouldn't fashion be a part of that? Psy tried to tell you folks about the nouveau riche style in Gangnam — and feel free to horse-dance your way through any of its boutiques — but some of Korea's most stylish folks can now be found along the tree-lined streets of Garosu-gil (home of the Simone Handbag Museum), the bargain stalls at Namdaemun Market, Dongdaemun (where shops don't close until 5 a.m.), or the graffiti-lined corridors of Hongdae. The biannual Seoul Fashion Week is one of the biggest streetwear events on the globe, but the most fun time to be in Seoul is for the fashion-meets-K-Pop Seoul Girls Collection event in October.

Buenos Aires, Argentina


Buenos Aires Fashion Week happens twice a year and shows off the city's distinct, vintage-influenced style found throughout scores of boutiques. Alvear Avenue has your Hermes, Louis Vuitton, and Cartier, but the Palermo and Recoleta neighborhoods are where contemporary Argentine fashion has come into its own.

Copenhagen, Denmark


Bohemian, "hipster" neighborhoods worldwide finds their nexus in Copenhagen, where fashion week simply looks like people in heavy makeup walking to Coachella or into a Wes Anderson film. Copenhagen isn't a luxe, haute fashion capital: Its designers including Norse Projects, Soulland, and Wood Wood are very much of their place. Built around the Danish concept of hygge — which places high value on coziness and contentment — Copenhagen's style is one of well-tended bohemian minimalism. While it has adherents from Mumbai to Portland, Oregon, this is still the best place to see it in action, and the best time is in the shoulder seasons when there is a nip to the air.

Rio de Janeiro


While the Fashion Rio shows have been spotty to nonexistent in recent years, the beaches and culture that make Rio a global fashion hub remain. Do you go in summer to see what's on the sand? Do you go during Carnival? Honestly, you can go anytime and find designers' vibrant colors and flowing fabrics. From skimpy swimsuits to loud Havaiana sandals, Rio's offerings are plentiful year-round. Just skip the high-end, Americanized shopping of Barra da Tijuca for the local boutiques in Leblon or the endless stalls of Mercado Uruguaiana.



No, it doesn't have a fashion week of its own, but its Swim Week in mid-July and its turn hosting Art Basel give it an art-flavored fashion sense on par with the Big Four. When you visit will depend largely on your tolerance for heat or hurricanes, but whenever you get here the cheat sheet for the best of high-end offerings should include Collins Avenue — featuring The Webster (think Chanel, Céline, Givenchy, Balenciaga, and Alaïa, with a touch of Mary Katrantzou, Cedric Charlier, and Erdem) and Bal Harbour Shops (Prada, Cartier, Saint Laurent, Marc Jacobs, Gucci, Chanel) — and Art Basel's center, the Miami Design District. For something more affordable made by people in Miami who began their careers this century, Lincoln Road and the shops just off it are a best bet.



It isn't Milan, which overshadows Rome's own Fashion Week in June, but you can visit Bulgari, Gucci, and Chanel on Via Condotti and Via Cola di Rienzo, and make even better finds on the lower end — and we don't mean the H+M and Zara on Via del Corso. Rome is an epicenter of vintage fashion, from boho and mid-century finds in Monti to a grab bag at the Porta Portese flea market. Even Vogue managed to find a handful of inexpensive vintage spots here.