5 Reasons Why London is Not the World’s Fashion Capital

London, Paris, fashion, street style

This is Paris street style. People look good.

Quotes like this annoy me:

“London has overtaken New York as the world’s fashion capital for 2011, according to a survey by the Texas-based trend analyser, Global Language Monitor.” (Telegraph)

First of all, why was New York the previous fashion capital? The one and only true capital of fashion is Paris. Which brings me to my second point, London can’t be in first place now, because Paris is and always has been in first place. And third, who the hell is the Global Language Monitor and what gives them the authority to decide this? Apparently their “discovery” is based on words and phrases in print, electronic and social media. So I guess “fashion” is mentioned more often by Londoners than Parisiens on Twitter? That might just be because in Paris they speak FRENCH. This is ridiculous, and I am going to tell you why.

London, Paris, fashion, street style

This is London street style. People look... not so good.

1. London Fashion Week was practically non existent a few years ago. I lived in London for ten years, and it was only in the past few years that people actually started attending LFW. I have a friend who works for Vogue Paris, and I asked her if she was coming to LFW a few years back, and she said “We don’t send anyone to London Fashion Week.” It is only in recent years that Anna Wintour and the big names have bothered to start turning up. (And by the way, all of the London brands have showrooms in Paris to sell their collections. They have to do this, because they know that very few buyers bother to come to London to buy. Paris is where all the buying takes place.)

London, Paris, fashion, street style

Meadham Kirchoff catwalk shows in the last two Topshop London Fashion Week spaces. Usually one of the best show venues of the season.

2. Topshop puts on the coolest fashion shows in London. Sure, they aren’t all about Topshop clothing, they actually present fashion shows by some of London’s best young brands. But the fact that a fast fashion retailer is responsible for the best fashion show venue and some of the best shows is proof alone that London is not the world’s fashion capital.

3. There are WAY less big fashion brands in London than there are in other cities. Look at the catwalk schedules for Paris, New York, and Milan, compared to London. There is no competition. If you were a fashion editor and you could only do three, you’d give London a miss.

London, Paris, fashion, street style

House of Holland = London Fashion. Ugh.

4. The UK is too small a market to support its own fashion brands. If you compare a “young” brand in the US to a “young” brand in the UK, you’ll see that the American brand has a much higher turnover and sales. That’s because the country is bigger and there are more people to buy things. Sure, London has some great retailers (which sell a lot of international brands) and amazing high street stores. But fast fashion does not make a world fashion capital.

London, Paris, fashion, street style

Christian Dior = Paris fashion. Amazing!

5. And lastly, the main reason why London is not the world’s fashion capital is because Paris is the world’s fashion capital. Haute Couture, Chanel, Dior, Hermes, etc…  are all part of French fashion and they still rule the fashion world. Plus, in recent years French people have started to dress trendily on the street, so they are giving the Londoners some competition. Sorry, but there is no argument here. I don’t care what Global Language Monitor or Twitter says, they have it wrong. Paris is the centre of the fashion world.

Images sources: Christian Dior House of Holland Meadham Kirchoff and second Meadham Kirchoff London Street Style Paris Street Style

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  • http://profiles.google.com/theresa.neubauer Theresa Neubauer

    What a true article and this is being said while sitting in London and loving Britain’s capital very much. I just moved to London for a month to help my sister settling in and I’ve had a loving relationship with this town for a long while. HOWEVER I am always amazed at how badly people dress on the streets. It sometimes seems as if they just throw on bags with some kind of designer label and they are good to go.

    It is for sure easier to stick out with nice outfits in London, why I am not complaining ;)! Thank you for your really really interesting blog. This is the first time I am commenting however I’ve been a fan and reader for a long time!
    Yours, Theresa from neu4bauer.blogspot.com

  • Anonymous

    Yes, the trends in London will definitely come as a surprise if you aren’t used to them. Sometimes it is great that everyone is so fashionable, but other times, the trends are a bit too much…

  • Jill

    This was a great post. I am so with you and your reasoning (and I live in NYC). And you know, not to offend anyone, but what does  a TEXAS-based trendy analyzer know about anything? Are they kidding? I’ve lived in Texas twice in my life (Dallas and Austin), for years at a time, do not even get me started  on the “fashion” there. You should submit this to IFB Links a la Mode, it’s really good.

  • Anonymous

    SO true! The Texans shouldn’t be making decisions on which city is the world’s fashion capital.

  • Hungstar

    I completely agree with you! This post reminded me of Tyra Banks on American’s Next Top Model aka. America’s Next Top Commercial Model for Three Months.

    In almost every cycle, something like this comes up: “_____ is the fashion capital of the world!”

    No, Tyra. Just no.

  • Anonymous

    I’ll agree that most of the best design talent comes from UK based schools, particularly London ones. And there are lots of great London brands. But even the best of the British designers have to go to Paris to sell their collections, buyers simply do not go to London to buy.

    This doesn’t mean London is insignificant, but it certainly isn’t the world’s fashion capital.

  • http://twitter.com/RNadineM Rochelle Medford

    who are you to say that London isn’t the fashion capital of the world? this is a different generation and time and the people that decide what we should be wearing are us, the society. you talk about high street shops like TopShop.. but didn’t they just take that over to New York. hmm seems like your argument is a bit bias. based on the society we live in most of us can’t afford to be walking down the street in dior.

  • Anonymous

    Being a fashion capital doesn’t depend on street style. People on the street in London dress way better than Paris, but from a business perspective (and fashion IS a business) Paris is the fashion capital.