There are many cities known for their style, but when it comes to modeling, four major cities stand out as global capitals of fashion: New York, Paris, Milan, and London.
These cities have a significant influence on international fashion trends. They are home to influential designers, the most important Fashion Weeks, leading fashion magazines, as well as countless professional exhibitions and awards ceremonies.
If you're a model looking to work in high fashion, these four cities should be your focus. However, keep in mind that they may not be the best places to start your career. Build your experience and portfolio by working with a reputable modeling agency before considering a move to one of these cities to catapult your modeling career to the next level.
01. New York City, United States of America
New York City is the fashion capital of North America. Fashion designers like Betsey Johnson, Calvin Klein, Derek Lam, Donna Karan, Isaac Mizrahi, and Philip Lim began their careers by studying at top fashion schools in New York. It's also where many leading designers, including Kate Spade, Marc Jacobs, Kenneth Cole, and Ralph Lauren, chose to establish the headquarters of their fashion houses.
New York City has over 5,000 fashion showrooms, more than any other city globally, and hosts more than 75 major trade shows and fashion market weeks annually, including the iconic New York Fashion Week.
The modeling market in New York is vast and diverse, offering more than just high fashion and editorial modeling opportunities. Models of all genders, ages, and sizes can explore other highly demanded markets such as commercial, fit, showroom, petite, plus-size, and body parts modeling.
02. Paris, France
Paris is often considered the ultimate destination for professional models. The city is renowned for its iconic international fashion houses, including Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Yves Saint Laurent, and Christian Dior. Paris Fashion Week is the final (and arguably the most anticipated) stop in the whirlwind that is the fashion month.
While haute couture is the first thing that comes to mind for many models when thinking of Paris, there are many other opportunities to explore.
Paris is often referred to as the "New York of Europe," meaning it offers expected jobs in haute couture, international cosmetics, and beauty campaigns, similar to its North American counterpart. However, there are also plenty of modeling contract opportunities in advertising, print, and television.
03. Milan, Italy
Milan has been a center of style since the Middle Ages, producing high-end luxury goods such as shoes, clothing, robes, and jewelry. Today, the Italian city of Milan is one of the global capitals of fashion and design.
Milan is home to over 12,000 fashion companies, 800 showrooms, and 6,000 stores, including top brands like Armani, Prada, Valentino, and Versace.
The city also hosts Milan Fashion Week, one of the most significant fashion events in the world. Milan is a competitive modeling market, but it's also an excellent place to launch your modeling career on an international level.
04. London, United Kingdom
London's fashion influence dates back to the Elizabethan era, and even today, oversized Elizabethan collars and ruffs can occasionally be seen on London runways. However, London's fashion has come a long way since the 16th century. Today, the city enjoys international acclaim for its creativity, trends, and its ability to blend fashion influences from around the world.
London is home to many high-end designer brands, including Stella McCartney, Burberry, Temperley, Vivienne Westwood, and the late Alexander McQueen. The city also hosts London Fashion Week, the epicenter of fashion for designers, magazines, photographers, buyers, and stylists.
The UK's fashion sector provides approximately 800,000 jobs, many of which are in haute couture and on the runways for male and female models. However, like New York, the city also offers a variety of other career opportunities for models, including work in advertising, television, as well as in editorial and print media.