Los Angeles, once thought of as the home of distressed denim, graphic tees and flipflops, is now attracting some of the most high profile fashion designers.
The city’s laid back and non-conformist attitude has seen the likes of Hedi Silmane, Jeremy Scott and John Galliano make it their permanent base.
Home grown designers like Rodarte and Band of Outsiders, as well as publications like Who What Wear, have also helped make the city a hotbed of creativity.
And, with the likes of Tom Ford, Burberry and Louis Vuitton all showing on the West Coast this year, LA’s standing in the fashion world has been proven beyond all doubt.
What can we put this city’s surge in prominence down to? Surely it’s not just the nice weather? Personally, I think it is a combination of factors.
LA label Rodarte SS15 Show. Image via Harry Carr for ID Magazine
Fashion as a whole is getting more casual. Most people’s wardrobes are filled with jeans and t-shirts, not evening dresses and smart shirts. And of course, if you’re looking for casual cool, then LA – home of a host of denim companies (Guess, J Brand, Seven For All Mankind, to name only a few) – is the place to go. But, I think it goes beyond style.
LA’s fashion rise has occurred in tandem with the growth of the contemporary art scene. Space is less expensive than on the East Coast, so artists have gradually started moving west. I think the fashion industry has really benefitted from having such a lively art culture, and the intersection of art and fashion is more pronounced in LA than in many other cities. The Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art has shown Hedi Slimane’s photography and pieces by Rodarte, highlighting this close relationship.
Many designers also move to LA because of the manufacturing capabilities. Downtown LA, with its cheap industrial warehouse space, is prime property for clothing manufacturers. If the designers and manufacturers can both be based in the same city, it gives them a chance to work more closely, as well as cut costs.
Finally, Los Angeles offers designers more creative freedom, simply because it isn’t the epicentre of the industry. Whereas in New York there is already a established infrastructure and hierarchy, in a newer city like L.A., emerging and established artists alike have the chance to be more creative and try something new.
So, is LA the next Fashion City? Funnily enough, I don’t really see L.A as a Fashion City, in fact, researching these pieces I am not even sure if the model of the Fashion City will be relevant anymore. I was reading an article by Nathaniel Beard ‘Fashion Cities and Style Centres: The Emerging Dynamics of Contemporary Fashion Cultures’ and came to the conclusion that ‘Style Centre’ might be more appropriate for LA.
LA is too cool to be become a capital. It is a place that doesn’t take itself too seriously. I think the city likes to be on the outside, it gives its residents a different perspective.
Nowadays when London, New York, Milan and Paris seem to only increase their dominance as ‘the’ fashion capitals, perhaps it makes sense for other cities to challenge them in different ways. Rather than creating fashion weeks and attracting household fashion names, cities such as LA and Copenhagen are creating their own style, their own unique flavour, and I think it is this that is attracting the attention of the fashion followers.