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All Things Fashion DC | April 24, 2014

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Can Washington, DC Become A Fashion Capital?

Can Washington, DC Become A Fashion Capital?

New York City, London, Milan, and Paris are among the world’s top fashion capitals. These cities represent the Ivy League of fashion; an illustrious and expensive group to get into that sets the trends for all who follow.

While there is not a formal application process to join this group there are certain qualifications a city must meet to be considered entry.  

In order to be regarded as a fashion capital a city should boast a strong cultural scene in which fashion and art contribute to its economy through the production of fashion goods, events and trade fairs. Each fashion capital is unique in its various sub-cultures and blend of fashion, entertainment, tourism and business.

This year London was named the world’s top fashion capital by the Global Language Monitor. The Texas based firm used a system that tracks the frequency of words and phrases in print, electronic and social media to determine the top spot. London’s win was due to a surge in interest in the city after the death of British designer Alexander McQueen and the stylish nuptials of the Duchess of Cambridge.

However, statistics alone do not make a fashion capital. If that was the case then the media’s obsession with Michelle Obama’s style would have catapulted Washington, DC into the ivy ranks in 2008.

In terms of qualifications, Washington, DC has the potential to become a mid-level fashion capital if not Ivy League. However, does it truly have what it takes?

While there is no shortage of talent in Washington, DC in order for the city to become a fashion capital talented individuals have to make the decision to support the city’s fashion industry by living and working in Washington, DC instead of leaving the city to find success elsewhere. In the same token, the fashion industry needs to be more united and supported by the city in order to nourish talented fashion professionals who need to make a living.

While the city boasts a variety of fashion related events each year including last week’s DC Fashion Week is that enough to prevent talented professionals from leaving?

Washington, DC’s greatest obstacle is the widely held perception that it is an unfashionable city. The premise for this assumption is that the city is too conservative to accommodate fashion risk-taking.

True fashion capitals are homes to innovative people that influence style. Since Washington, DC is a transient city its style is more or less a fusion of fashions from countless cities and cultures. However, outside of the suits on Capitol Hill the city lacks a distinctive signature style. Until Washington, DC sheds the misconception that the city is unfashionable it will have a tough time trying to join the Ivy League of Fashion.  For now it will have to remain the nation’s capital rather than a fashion capital.

While the mission of All Things Fashion DC is to shine a light on the Washington, DC fashion industry we must admit that changing misconceptions about the city will be an uphill battle. Nevertheless, it is a battle we are willing to fight and we need your support.

 Three Ways to Boost the Washington, DC Fashion Industry:

  • Support local designers and businesses by investing in them.
  • Attend fashion related events.
  • Take more fashion risks.

 Image courtesy of Caffeinated Panda

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