Beyond every sales pitch made by many of the most urban destinations on the planet, there is one that, season after season, attracts the most trend-driven and fashion conscious travellers. It’s fashion and, more specifically, the international fashion shows that highlight the cream of the fashion crop twice a year.
More than a particular show or area, the so-called fashion weeks break down the concept of the fashion show and become more of a general introduction to the newest trends. They catch the eye of the press, and articles, news reports, and blogs spread images of the most attractive collections of the season the length and breadth of the internet.
Generally, the fashion weeks take place twice a year. From January to March, the Fall-Winter collections of the coming year are presented, while in June and July, or even September and October, we get a look at what will be around in the Spring-Summer of the following year. If you’re in any of the following cities at the right time, take the opportunity to have a peek at what we might all be wearing next season.
Here are some of the best fashion weeks from around the world – we bet there are some you’ll never even have heard of!
This is one of the best-known in the world, attended by designers from all over the globe, like Balenciaga, Dior Homme, Nica Ricci, and Louis Vuitton. Both the women’s prêt-a-porter and men’s tailoring collections are the stars of this particular show.
The Paris fashion expo first took place in 1973. The French Government wanted to host something that would help fund the renovation of the Versailles Palace and decided that a fashion show would be the perfect vehicle. That first edition saw the participation of Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent, and Oscar de la Renta, all of which are still active today.
Also known as Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week, this first took place in 1943 and was the first to give a platform to the concept of fashion shows organised on specific days. It was originally called Press Week and intended to show off American fashion on a global level (until then, American fashion was somewhat eclipsed by the French industry) as well as to draw the attention of new fashion designers who, during WWII, couldn’t travel to Paris.
Among the designers that frequently appear at the New York shows are Calvin Klein, Badgley Mischka, and Michael Kors.
Milan Fashion Week first happened in 1958, quickly joining New York and becoming one of the best fashion weeks in the world. Some of the designers we see year after year include Salvatore Ferragamo, Armani, Roberto Cavalli, Gucci, Versace, and Prada.
In Rome, designers, stylists, influencers, and models are all focussed through the glamorous lens of Italian fashion to become the centre of attention for a few days.
This first took place in 1984 and is organised by the British Fashion Council every two years in London. Along with Paris, Milan, and New York, it’s at the centre of the world’s fashion industry and is where everyone else finds out about the latest trends.
It was the first fashion week to broadcast the shows live over the internet in 2012. Frequently seen in the London shows are Tom Ford, Burberry, and Vivienne Westwood.
Despite the fact that the Tokyo Fashion Week (also known as Japan Fashion Week or Mercedes-Benz-Fashion-Week Tokyo) hasn’t been around for long, it is growing in popularity and becoming the most important show in Asia and a global reference in “fashion fusion”.
Extravagant and sometimes experimental, Tokyo Fashion Week showcases some of the weirdest and most alternative trends. One of the most famous and frequently appearing protagonists of the show is Yoshikazu Yamagata, designer of collections that stand out for their colour and daring approach.
The German fashion expo happens twice a year and focuses on both local and international designers. It’s still quite a young fashion week, but in a short space of time has become a must-do for young designers looking for more exposure.
Charismatically located in front of the Brandenburg Gate, this fashion week offers more unusual fashion shows. Designer Michael Michalsky presents his StyleNite show, for example, which uses models with a disability and people aged 60+ to show off his collections.
Also known as Cibeles Fashion Week or, for the last couple of years Mercedez-Benz Fashion Week Madrid (which has allowed it to reach a greater international audience), this is a biannual event organised by the Madrid Exhibition and Trade Fair Association, IFEMA. It has gathered together models, celebrities, figures from the fashion world, and even politicians from around the world for the last 50 years.
Among the designers we see here on a regular basis are Agatha Ruiz de la Prada, Amaya Arzuaga, Juanjo Oliva and Hannibal Laguna.
The Spanish capital, along with Barcelona Fashion Week, make up some of the most important fashion expos in the world.
Australia Fashion Week
Once a year we see the Australian fashion expo. It has been taking place since 1996 aiming, much like New York Fashion Week in its time, to bring attention to the work of Australian and Pacific-region designers. Unlike other fashion weeks, retailers can buy the designs when the shows end, without having to use intermediaries.
Little by little is it gaining international recognition in the world of fashion. Regular contributors include Ericaamerica, Collette Dinnigan and Leona Edmiston.
Lakme India Fashion Week
This fashion week has been successfully taking place in New Delhi for almost two decades and is the most important in India. It was first held in 2000 and, since then, has grown in fame and exposure, especially within India. It’s an important international shopfront for the designers that take part and is usually very busy as a result of a large number of participants.
Some of the names you’re likely to see at the fashion week include Tarun Tahiliani, Asmita Marwa and Govind Kumar Singh and their colourful, exotic designs.