For the “Global Fashion Capitals” exhibition, on view at the Museum at FIT in New York, curators Ariele Elia and Elizabeth Way searched the world for fashion-forward cities, looking at local designers who were making a big mark on the industry. While the established meccas of Paris, New York, Milan, and London were shoe-ins, the pair found 16 other cities that are rising in fashion power. On display in the show are both vintage and fresh-off-the-runway designs that demonstrate the prowess of these stylish hotspots.
The major fashion capitals have well-known representatives, such as Coco Chanel for Paris, Mary Quant for London, Ralph Lauren for New York, and Versace for Milan. But the newer cities show a diverse range of both emerging and midcareer designers. A fall 2013 Delpozo gown highlights the revival of Madrid fashion, while a Marina Hoermanseder ensemble of leather, fiberglass, and mohair nods to the avant-garde art scene in Berlin. Inspired by village life and storytelling traditions in her home country of Nigeria, designer Amaka Osakwe has created a fashion label called Maki Oh, based in Lagos. Carla Fernandez, working from Mexico City, created a suit inspired by the Mexican Revolution and Aztec aesthetics. With modernity as a guiding principle, these designers go beyond traditional folk dress to capture a global aesthetic, finding success in both international and local markets.