Alas. It’s that time of year.
Glamour and prestige fill the air, exclusive runways and events tyrannize Instagram feeds, streets crawl with paparazzi scouring the area for celebrities and influencers, black SUVs tinted out black windows on black wheels crowd overcrowded areas, overwhelming amounts of tourists and traffic seize the cityscape...
fashion. month. is. here.
As New York Fashion Week winds down, London is getting ready for its turn on the main stage. Soon, Milan will have its (short) time in the spotlight, and finally we will await for Paris to close out the season. Then we will twiddle thumbs until February rears its head when we begin to fawn over the fall/winter collections of 2018.
When it comes to fashion, there are four main 'fashion capitals' of the world, hand-chosen by industry's elite to feature the season’s newest collections. But, can we really minimize fashion's influence within the walls of just four cities?
The major Fashion Weeks are one-of-a-kind in their own respect, but they've become predictable scenes. Year after year we see the recognizable designers, typical street-style stars, regular faces and catwalks on the runway.
Though, around the world, diversified fashion weeks and shows have been challenging the predictability, pointing out that fashion takes myriad styles and forms. It's time we raise the curtains and let the rest of the world in on the industry's four best progressive shows.
Democratic Republic of Congo, Africa: despite decades of brutality and subjugation, the Congolese have created a strong sense of style. An explosion of color, fabric and luxurious swagger, the Congolese attribute its fashion candor in lavish outfits. A specific high-fashion group of men called Sapeurs, merged out of a movement called la SAPE, which stands for La Societé des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Élégantes. Originally inspired by the 60s pop star, Papa Wemba, who notably strayed away from traditional Congolese attire, the Sapeurs (or Saps) are known for their sharp taste in trendy suits and draped in dapper elegance.
Even though the poverty-stricken city still develops today, the Congolese buying power in retail is as luxe as it gets. Sporting designer garb from Versace, Prada, Gucci, Armani, and several other big named players, the Congolese do whatever they need to do to get their hands on the newest styles, despite annual salaries averaging at $400 and houses held up in metal shacks.
Tokyo, Japan: Tokyo Fashion Week has steadily gained momentum and popularity over the years. Styles bold and trends experimental, some of the most unusual fashion moments were birthed on the runways in Tokyo, influencing the rest of the fashion world. Tokyo's unique fashion ecosystem pays homage to celebrated labels and an ever-growing retail scene. Comme des Garcons, Needles, W)Taps, Kenzo, A Bathing Ape among many have made their marks in Japan, and have since earned global recognition with their eccentric, legendary collections changing high fashion today.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates: It’s no secret Dubai’s fashion network has transformed into one of the most elite in the past decade, making it the ultimate hub for fashion and design in the Middle East. Launching its first fashion week in November of 2015, Arab Fashion Week represents 22 countries, with a focus in promoting local and emerging designers in the international market. The newly organized event is hosted by Arab Fashion Council, the world’s largest non-profit fashion council, which includes Cavaliere Mario Boselli, the honorary president of both the Arab Fashion Council and the Chamber of Italian Fashion. Introducing ‘Ready Couture’ lines, a combination of ready-to-wear and haute couture collections, Arab Fashion Week continues to create a distinctive voice and unique platform within the international fashion week calendar.
São Paulo, Brazil: Talent from Vitorino Campos, Reinaldo Lourenco, Gloria Coelho, Paula Raia, and Azzedine Alaia, and a plethora of other names give São Paulo Fashion Week (SPFW) its eclectic, cultural flair. Oftentimes recognized as the fifth largest fashion week in the world, São Paulo's diversified fashion and runways prove to be the most progressive of all fashion shows. Casting an array of nationalities on the runway and featuring an agglomeration of designers, it is no secret that this city has made great strides in the world of fashion.
Unlike the usual 'big 4' fashion weeks, SPFW is open to the public and thoroughly transcends Brazilian culture through its fashion, instead of mimicking international trends. For a city that keeps evolving itself for every show, Sao Paulo never disappoints.
Written & Posted by: Pujah Shah