Every year New York, London, Milan, and Paris – the so called “Big 4” – prepare to welcome animated crowds of fashion designers, photographers, fashion bloggers, and other industry professionals during the bi-annual (spring and fall) World Fashion Week.
This year, the fall World Fashion Week is scheduled to take place between September 7th and October 5th, reuniting fashion professionals from around the world aiming to unveil the new designer collections and trends of the Spring/Summer 2017 season.
While New York was the first city to organise fashion shows seasonally, the concept of “fashion show” originated in Paris, France, where fashion parades are still called défilés de mode today. London Fashion Week was the first English-speaking series of events to use the term “Fashion Week,” beginning in 1984. London was also the first fashion week to stream their events live for a worldwide audience, in Spring 2010. Milan’s “fashion week” or “settimana della moda” is organised under the auspices of the National Chamber for Italian Fashion (Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana). However, some of the largest design houses, such as Dolce & Gabbana and Gucci, show outside of Camera della Moda. Paris is the host city of two “fashion weeks” each season – the “haute couture” (high fashion) shows, which have been held in Paris since 1945, and the “prêt-à-porter” (ready to wear) shows.
Although most events during the World Fashion Week are “industry only” (buyers and press), there may be specific opportunities for the public to attend. Attendance options vary by location and are generally based on connections to the industry. However, in some cases, there may be alternatives for those who wish to attend.
New York Fashion Week shows are reserved for buyers and press. Bloggers may apply for accreditation to producers like IMG a few weeks before the events. Additional opportunities are being offered to the public via prize giveaways and opportunities to buy tickets from Macy’s, emerging designers and more. In order to attend London’s events, fashion aficionados may need to register on the official site of the British Fashion Council and provide a verified address in London. London Fashion Week is followed by a four-day series of events called London Fashion Weekend, which is open to the public. Attending Milan Fashion Week requires a prior registration at the National Chamber of Italian Fashion, which organises the shows. Paris, the grande dame of the fashion weeks, has been the epicenter of fashion for most of the history of Western civilisation. To attend the events in Paris, one may apply for accreditation at the French Federation of Fashion. An alternative to Paris Fashion Week shows is the Galeries Lafayette runway “trunk shows” (showing new collections debuting in-store) throughout the year, which are free to attend.
Besides hosting fashion shows and industry professionals, international destinations may also be a source of inspiration for designers aiming to incorporate elements of world cultures into their collections and also appeal to an international audience. For example, American singer and fashion designer, Gwen Stefani, named her 2005 world tour and her clothing line after the Japanese Harajuku girls, originally from the Harajuku district in Tokyo, known to dress in an innovative way. Former Spice Girl turned fashion designer, Victoria Beckham, who has recently presented her Spring/Summer 2017 collection at the New York Fashion week, declared in an interview at Vogue Festival she often finds her inspiration for a new collection from her international travels, such as the Californian lifestyle (for the Victoria line), Manhattan and its residents, etc.
Whether it’s a vibrantly painted colonial building, an element of indigenous crafts and culture, or the local street fashion, travel may inspire artists and fashion designers to immerse themselves into the local vibe and absorb its essence which may reflect on their future creations.
How may world travel influence fashion trends?