There are many cities with great style. But when it comes to modeling, the Big Four are the fashion capitals of the world: New York, Paris, Milan, and London.
These fashion cities have a significant influence on international fashion trends. They are home to influential designers, major fashion weeks, renowned fashion magazines, as well as countless trade shows, exhibitions, and awards ceremonies.
If you want to work as a model in Haute Couture, these four cities should be your focus. But remember: These cities are not places where you should start your career. Gain experience and build a portfolio with a reputable model agency before heading to any of these cities to catapult your modeling career into its most successful phases.
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 have taken their first steps here and studied at the leading fashion schools in New York. Many top designers, including Kate Spade, Marc Jacobs, Kenneth Cole, and Ralph Lauren, have set up their headquarters here.
In New York City, there are more than 5,000 fashion showrooms, more than any other city in the world, and more than 75 major fashion fairs and market weeks take place here every year (including the famous New York Fashion Week).
The model market in New York City is huge and diverse, offering much more than just high fashion and editorial modeling. Models of all genders, ages, and sizes can explore other sought-after markets, such as advertising, fit, showroom, petite, plus, and parts modeling.
Paris is often seen as the ultimate destination for professional models. The city is known for its iconic international fashion houses such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Yves Saint Laurent, and Christian Dior, and fashion week is the last (and most anticipated) stop in the whirlwind of the fashion month.
While haute couture is the first thing that comes to mind for many models when they think of Paris, there are many other opportunities to discover.
Paris is often referred to as the "New York of Europe," which means that, just like its North American counterpart, it offers expected high-fashion work and international cosmetics and beauty campaigns. But there are also many opportunities to secure modeling contracts for advertising, print media, and television.
As early as the Middle Ages, Milan was a center of fashion that produced high-quality luxury goods such as shoes, dresses, robes, and jewelry. Today, the Italian city of Milan is one of the fashion and design capitals of the world.
Milan has over 12,000 fashion companies, 800 showrooms, and 6,000 shops, including top brands like Armani, Prada, Valentino, and Versace.
The city also hosts Milan Fashion Week, one of the most important fashion events in the world. Milan is a competitive model market, but it is also a great place to start your modeling career on an international level.
London, United Kingdom
London's fashionable influence dates back to the Elizabethan era, and even today, oversized Elizabethan collars and ruffles are not uncommon on London runways. But London's style has evolved significantly since the 16th century. Today, the city enjoys an international reputation for being creative and groundbreaking, bringing together fashion influences from all over the world.
London is home to many high-profile designer labels, including Stella McCartney, Burberry, Temperley, Vivienne Westwood, and the late Alexander McQueen. The city also hosts London Fashion Week, the fashion epicenter for designers, magazines, photographers, buyers, and stylists.
The fashion industry in the United Kingdom provides approximately 800,000 jobs, including numerous runway appearances for female and male models. Like New York, however, the city also offers a variety of other career opportunities for models, including commercial and television appearances, as well as editorial and print modeling.