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 Sept. 6-14 — we consulted with the folks at Global Fashion Monitor and, from their rankings of the top 63 fashion cities in the world, picked 20 worth a visit starting with the big four.
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.
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 That's a bit outdated.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.