Fashion Capitals of the World Research Paper

The fashion industry is a significant and interesting area. First, because of the multi-function nature of fashion, everyone can build a relationship with it, and thus my project would be in relation to everyone. Besides, the fast-changing characteristic of the fashion industry is also a factor to be considered and likely to influence the world fashion trends. There is neither a fixed theory, nor an everlasting phenomenon, nor a forever market in this industry. Its dynamic nature has helped it evolve from an industry dominated by the two cities to a multibillion industry with many players. Changes are taking place at every moment, thus, new questions and discussions are available at every time.

This research focuses mainly on fashion capitals. The function of fashion is largely diversified. Apart from serving the daily necessity function of clothing, it can also be regarded as an identity, both of an individual or a nation. The clothing culture identifies the people of a particular nation. Notable in this is the Nigerians whose clothing fashion distinguishes them from the rest of the crowd anywhere they are.

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Moreover, it is a way of communication, to express ones psychological status or social and cultural background. By being the fashion capital, not solely a national identity is built, but, huge trading revenue will be brought. This is because the fashion industry has evolved to be an economic powerhouse trading billion of currencies in individual countries. This is one aspect that makes this industry an important subject of study in modern times. It has diversified its function with time to become a prestigious industry. (Menkes, 2000)

Can Milan and Paris Remain as the Fashion Centre of the World?
Paris and Milan, the two major fashion capitals are taken as the main areas of study in this research. Their role as capitals can be dated back to the origin and history of fashion. On the one hand, their role as the fashion capitals is said to be undisputable in some articles. But the success of the US and Japanese fashion is notably recognized and the effect it has on the Paris and Milan fashion industry is being appreciated. Take Hong Kong as an example, Harbour City in Tsim Sha Tsui, one of the most popular shopping commercial centers and which house major clothing companies with fashions from all over the world including from the United States.

The change of the fashion market can be seen from the branch of a different brand, to be exact, over a half of the shops are brands from Paris and Milan. However, in recent years, a change has taken place that there are more brands from different parts of the world. The mass culture fashion is taking a more dominant role than before, from the role of clothing to play the role of luxury and recognition. With this changing aspect of the fashion industry, it is necessary to examine it in detail. (Menkes, 2000)

My question for this research is thus drawn from this phenomenon. Under this fast-changing industry, can Paris and Milan continue to be the fashion capitals? Will Tokyo become the ? Will the American culture of fashion gain more and more popularity and certainty?

As regards the chronological question, the time after World War II, where the first drastic change has taken place in the fashion industry will be examined. Before the war, the fashion trend was tending to the high culture. Clothes were mainly worn for cultural values.

Details of clothing, the textile used and the inclusion of religious affiliations were emphasized. After the war, especially the years after the 1960s, when the modern democratic society was starting its development, a new style of fashion emerged, is the . The latter one is quite different from the former one, instead of encouraging a cult of individuality, the trivial, the ephemeral and the superficiality of individual appearance is emphasized. (Menkes, 2000)

This research project will first discuss how Paris and Milan became fashion capitals. Afterward, the threats from the new world, including the US, Japan, and China, will be examined. Lastly, the work that Paris and Milan do in order to sustain their position will be explored, so as to answer the big question of this research to explore if they can continue to be the fashion capital under this challenging context.

Timeline in the development of Fashions
Before the Second World War, fashion designs were mainly for the royals purpose and it was considered a royal privilege. The development of fashion in Paris and Milan dates back to the rule of King Louis XIV who introduced Le Ballet as a noble behavior. Together he brought about expensive clothing designs for the nobles. He made a lot of money by modifying expensive fabrics and accessories for nobles and soon he was sought after by many princes.

Creativity led to the development of songs and dances to accompany ballet and later The Paris Opera House was established. Then King Louis established the court post of Haut Couture, meaning Royal Counts of French Nobles. At the same time, it is reckoned that Italy had developed the opera and was practicing it. During the Second World War, in America, the government sank fabric fabrication to about 15% hence there was less development in fashion during the period of 1941 to 1945.

People became more inclined to fashion and women started wearing new clothes mainly shorter skirts. Americans were not as creative as the French or Italians but they developed good sports wears. It was Christian Dior who liberalized womens wear at this time with her frail waist and wide skirts. At the same time, the Nazis wanted to move the Haute Couture to Berlin to give German women a Parisian look but it was resisted by Lucien Lelong leaving the luxury back in Paris.

Milan as a fashion Centre
Milan province of Italy has been accounting for 28% of the countrys gross income solely due to its fashion designs. It s the home of famous car brands, like Alfa Romeo, Pirelli, and others, but all of which dont rival its fashion design industry. Italy has remained a fashion center of the world for a long time. It has rivaled France since the beginning of the 20th century in the fashion industry. Any tourist thinking of visiting Italy thinks of fashion.

For a long time Milan has been considered the fashion hub of the Italian cities although currently, Rome is also emerging as a major fashion center in Italy. Milan is famous for its fashion and shopping center renowned for fashion shopping like Montenapoleone. It holds the Prt-a-porter fashion shows twice a year. Milan has been considered by many as the fashion capital of Italy and probably the fashion center of the world as well. (Menkes, 2000)

According to Mike Smith (2002), Milan is undisputed the center of Window-shopping in the world. He asserts that one does not even have to look at the clothes in the window but just watch the advanced ultra-chic Milanese strolling buy. Milan fashion culture has developed over time to a multi-fashion culture producing not only garments and clothes but also has produced fashionable fewer allies and motor brand over time. The development of fashion in Italy can be traced back to the 1950s when a fashion show was first held in Florence in 1951. This changed the perception of the Italians about the fashion industry.

They started viewing the fashion industry as an expression of their culture and class. Initially, the fashion designs were had a royal appeal which had fine and elaborate clothes. However Italian fashions changed drastically in the 1960s when fashion designers started producing clothes that were uniquely art but with a street-savvy taste. This developed to prt-a-porter styles in the 1970s and 1980s. This popularity of the Italian styles led to the development of Milan as a fashion center. The Milan fashion styles have advanced with time to produce famous suits, jeans, and T-shirts that are famous in the entire world.

According to Giorgia (2001), Rome has risen to be a significant fashion center rivaling Milan in Italy. He asserts that the fashion glamour of Rome has kept Milan on its toes and the trend is likely to topple Milan in the near future. Milan has endured wearing designs or Prt-a-porter while Rome has haute couture. Indeed Rome has rivaled Milan in many other fashion aspects. While Milan has fashion like Versace, Prada, and others, Rome has more famous and influential labels like Sorelle Fontana, Gattiononi, and others. In the near future, Rome may rival Paris in the fashion industry. Hence Milan has faced fierce competition not only from other parts of the world but also from within the country itself.

Milan has wakened to this challenge of the world and has been reawakening to reposition itself as the leading world fashion center. Indeed, all over the world, the Made in Italy label has been a prestige to many people going for fashion shopping. It is this fame that Milan wants to restore.

Paris as a Fashion center
Paris has been the center of world fashion for a long time. Perhaps Paris started developing to be the center of world fresh fashion, and new styles, during the time of Charles Fredrick Worth who live from 1826 to 1895. He revolutionized the fashion industry and was the first to be called the fashion designer of the world. He acquired this title due to his outstanding clothing works which amazed all people. According to Nathalie Fiset, this legacy remains up to date with some fashion icons like Paris Hilton being world celebrities.

Up to date, the Worth fashion design is still very popular with all people. Paris fashion legacy brings a memory of the industry players like Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Jean-Paul Gaultier, and others. In the 1800s fashion designs were mainly for the royals and they slowly started trickling to common people. Worth is accredited with having helped to develop fashion for common people when he set up his Maison couture, the fashion house in Paris.

They created a legacy that remains up to date with many designers attracted to fashion shows in Paris. Women designs were upgraded which Elas Schiaparellin opened the Paris Boutique which specialized in women designs in the late 20s. The effects of World War I were seriously felt in the Paris fashion industry and many had to close down. But after the war, Christina Dior re-established the fashion industry in Paris with the introduction of .

But what went wrong and how did Paris lose its fashion culture? It is very evident that today many boutiques in Paris are stocked with American hip-hop styles. Major clothing boutiques stock casual tops, flowing skirts, birth color clothes, expensive jewelleries, and all manner of dresses designed in American and Japanese styles. Many famous shopping malls in Paris like Rive Gauche, Forum des Halles, and others all have stocked American clothes. Walking down on the streets and avenues of Paris one would definitely mistake the crowd for Americans. French people have completely changed their styles. (Menkes, 2000)

The change is evident more in females than in males. Men have been slow in adapting to baggy Jeans and T-shirts that are the fashions of American men. It is worth noting that other cities like Milan, London, New York, and others are all having styles and fashion shows that were once dominated by Paris. They have impressive shows same as those which were once held in Paris. A walk through Paris reveals that American culture has taken on the city not only in fashion but also in music trends and foods. According to Suzanne Krider (2007), all this can be attributed to the aspect of globalization. Globalization has led to a mix-up of people and integration of culture. It has helped people have a different taste from what they have been used to.

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