Shanghai sashays in Top Global Fashion Capitals

By Shi Yingying (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-08-24 07:37
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SHANGHAI - The world's fashion capitals can no longer feel secure about their dominance after Asian metropolises Hong Kong and Shanghai sashayed into prominence, this year's Top Global Fashion Capitals reveals.

The list, compiled by American non-profit group Global Language Monitor, puts New York back on top as the world's top fashion capital, reclaiming its spot from Milan this year.

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But the annual poll also showed the top fashion cities seeing competition from China, with Hong Kong in second place and Shanghai 12th.

Topping the list are New York, Hong Kong, London, Paris and Los Angeles. Milan, Sydney, Miami, Barcelona and Madrid followed.

Shanghai even beat out Tokyo (14th).

"This year's list of the Top Fashion Capitals shows the global fashion industry remains in flux, with the relative decline of some of the previously leading players and formerly regional players emerging as significant new influences," said Rebecca Payack, the Manhattan-based fashion correspondent for Global Language Monitor.

"The Orient is definitely where Westerners wish to check out about fashion," said Chinese fashion critic Lin Jian.

Ji Cheng, a Shanghai-based designer who flies frequently to the world's fashion centers for shows, sees more energy in the upcoming fashion capital of Shanghai.

"You have to admit Hong Kong is a more matured fashion destination - at least 20 to 30 years more advanced than Shanghai, but there's a gap between the well-established designers like Vivian Tam who are now 53 and the new generation of Hong Kong designers," she said.

"As for Shanghai, which I see more as the gathering place for young freelancers and newcomers, a growing number of designers are making the difference," she said.

Professor Bian Xiangyang from Shanghai-based Donghua University caught a hint of economic influence on the fashion list by saying "international influence is a necessary element to make sure you're on the list".

"Because of its depressing performance from an economic perspective in recent years, Japan doesn't have the same impact it used to have. While with Expo 2010 Shanghai on the horizon, Shanghai caught up," he said.

The ranking of Top Global Fashion Capitals 2010 tracked the frequency of words and phrases in print and electronic media, on the Internet and throughout the blogsphere. But this way of collecting data and making the list is challenged by mainstream authority.

"Couch potatoes with no fashion experience could say something on the Internet nowadays, and I highly doubt the credibility of the list because of it," said Bao Mingxin, another professor from Donghua University.

"I'd suggest making the list according to the coverage of luxury brands in each city across the world," said Lin.