London, the world's fashion capital?
The case for and against
The Global Language Monitor announced its top 10 Global Fashion Capital's last week. London and New York were followed by Paris, Milano, Los Angeles, and Hong Kong. Barcelona, Singapore, Tokyo and Berlin also made the top ten.
Leaving aside the highly dubious methodology (counting mentions in press and social media), the attention seeking media release, and the improbable conclusion, it does highlight the growing interest in London's fashion industry.
The case for London
The case against
But before we get too smug, we should look at the evidence more closely. People are talking about the city, but our top designers like Vivienne Westwood, Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney all show their new designs in Paris, not London.
This is because New York and Paris Fashion Weeks are considered the most important sales trade fairs, and London is missed out entirely by international buyers, who tend to leave their buying decisions for Paris (which follows London).
And we're heavily reliant on other countries. The vast majority of our designers need international sales to sustain their business. Only one in five London designers sell solely in the UK, and these are largely wedding dress and other bespoke designers.
This is the broader point – exactly what is a fashion capital? Each of the cities on the index have different strengths (haute couture, menswear, street), different size sectors, and different assets. Shouldn't we talk of a fashion federation instead?