Fashion today is a global industry, and most major countries have a fashion industry. Seven countries have established an international reputation in fashion: France, Italy, United Kingdom, United States, Japan, Germany and Belgium. The “big four” centers of the fashion industry are Paris, Milan, New York City and London. The biggest manufacturers of clothing are China, Bangladesh and India, and other notable clothing manufacturing countries are Germany, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Philippines, South Korea, Spain, and Brazil.
United States Fashion Design
Most fashion houses in the United States are based in New York City, with a high concentration centered in the Garment District neighborhood. On the US west coast, there is also a significant number of fashion houses in Los Angeles, where a substantial percentage of high fashion clothing manufactured in the United States is actually made. Beverly Hills, particularly on Rodeo Drive, is globally renowned for its fashion design and prestigious shopping. Burgeoning industries in Miami, Chicago, Dallas, and especially San Francisco have developed as well. A semi-annual event held every February and September, New York Fashion Week, is the oldest of the four major fashion weeks held throughout the world. Parsons The New School for Design, located in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Lower Manhattan in New York City, is considered one of the top fashion schools in the world. There are numerous fashion magazines published in the United States and distributed around the world for global readership. Examples include Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and Cosmopolitan.
American fashion design is dominated by a clean-cut, urban, casual style, reflecting the athletic, health-conscious lifestyles of urban city-dwellers. A designer who helped to set the trend in the United States for sport-influenced day wear throughout the 1940s and 50s was Claire McCardell. Many of her designs have been revived in recent decades.
Belgian Fashion Design
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Belgian fashion designers brought a new fashion image that mixed East and West, and brought a highly individualised, personal vision on fashion. Well known Belgian designers are the Antwerp Six: Ann Demeulemeester, Dries Van Noten, Dirk Bikkembergs, Dirk Van Saene, Walter Van Beirendonck and Marina Yee, as well as Maison Martin Margiela, Raf Simons, Kris Van Assche, Bruno Pieters, Anthony Vaccarello.
British Fashion Design
London has long been the capital of the United Kingdom fashion industry and has a wide range of foreign designs which have integrated with modern British styles. Typical, British design is smart but innovative yet recently has become more and more unconventional, fusing traditional styles with modern techniques. Vintage styles play an important role in the British fashion and styling industry. Stylists regularly ‘mix and match’ the old with the new, which gives British style that unique, bohemian aesthetic that many of the other fashion capitals try to imitate. Irish fashion (both design and styling) is also heavily influenced by fashion trends from Britain.
Famous British brands and designers include Burberry, Paul Smith, Alfred Dunhill, Alexander McQueen, John Galliano, John Richmond, Kim Jones, Neil Barrett, Matthew Williamson, Hussein Chalayan, Gareth Pugh, Stella McCartney, Mulberry, Thomas Pink, Victoria Beckham and Vivienne Westwood.
French Fashion Design
Most French fashion houses are in Paris, which is the capital of French fashion. Traditionally, French fashion is chic and stylish, defined by its sophistication, cut, and smart accessories. French fashion is internationally acclaimed.
Famous brands and designers from France include Chanel, Louis Vuitton, L’Oreal, Christian Louboutin, Balmain, Lancôme, Givenchy, Le Coq Sportif, Cartier, Guerlain, Sonia Rykiel, Longchamp, Pierre Cardin, Kenzo, Yves Saint Laurent, Dior, Clarins, A.P.C., Jean Paul Gaultier, Lacoste, Hermès, Thierry Mugler, Lanvin, Inès de La Fressange, Quechua, Chloé, Lolita Lempicka, Nina Ricci, Rochas, Cerruti, Oxbow and Céline.
German Fashion Design
Berlin is the centre of fashion in Germany (prominently displayed at Berlin Fashion Week), while Düsseldorf holds Europe’s largest fashion trade fairs with Igedo. Other important centres of the scene are Munich, Hamburg, and Cologne. German fashion is famed for its elegant lines as well as unconventional young designs and the great variety of styles.
Globally renowned fashion designers from Germany are Karl Lagerfeld, Hugo Boss, Wolfgang Joop, Jil Sander, Michael Michalsky, Etienne Aigner, Rudolph Moshammer, Torsten Amft, Willy Bogner, and Philipp Plein.
Famous fashion brands include Hugo Boss, adidas, PUMA, Escada, JOOP!, MCM, Bruno Banani, Jil Sander, Triumph International, Schiesser, Closed GmbH, Reusch, Valisere, Jack Wolfskin, Ulla Popken, Buffalo, Rohde Shoes, Zalando, Dr. Martens, P&C, Marc O’Polo, Tom Tailor, s.Oliver, Esprit, Falke and Wunderkind.
Italian Fashion Design
Milan is Italy’s fashion capital. Most of the older Italian couturiers are in Rome. However, Milan and Florence are the Italian fashion capitals, and it is the exhibition venue for their collections. Italian fashion features casual and glamorous elegance.
Famous Italian fashion brands include Gucci, Armani, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Valentino, Bottega Veneta, Roberto Cavalli, Costume National, Brunello Cucinelli, Diesel, Etro, Fay, Fendi, Salvatore Ferragamo, Fiorucci, Genny, Iceberg, Kiton, La Perla, Loro Piana, Marni, Missoni, Moncler, Moschino, Richmond, Ermanno Scervino, Tod’s, Trussardi, and Versace.
Japanese Fashion Design
Most Japanese fashion houses are in Tokyo. The Japanese look is loose and unstructured (often resulting from complicated cutting), colours tend to the sombre and subtle, and richly textured fabrics. Famous Japanese designers include Kenzo Takada, Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto and Rei Kawakubo.
Chinese Fashion Design
Hong Kong clothing brand Shanghai Tang’s design concept is inspired by Chinese clothing and set out to rejuvenate Chinese fashion of the 1920s and 30s, with a modern twist of the 21st century and its usage of bright colours. As of today, there are many fashion designers in the region of China, Hong Kong and Macau.
Soviet Fashion Design
Fashion in the Soviet Union largely followed general trends of the Western world. However, the state’s socialist ideology consistently moderated and influenced these trends. In addition, shortages of consumer goods meant that the general public did not have ready access to pre-made fashion.
Swiss Fashion Design
Most of the Swiss fashion houses are in Zürich. The Swiss look is casual elegant and luxurious with a slight touch of quirkiness. Additionally, it has been greatly influenced by the dance club scene.