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The history of the Fashion Weeks

Fashion Week

The end of the Paris Fashion Week 2013 signals the end of this year's major fashion events which have spanned numerous countries over the last few weeks. The 2014 Spring/Summer collection Fashion Weeks started with the New York Fashion Week in September, then moved onto the London Fashion Week, the Milan Fashion Week and finally the Paris Fashion Week.

Traditionally the Fashion Weeks take place twice over the year, the first usually between January-April in order to showcase the fashion for the autumn and winter season. The second round of Fashion Weeks take pace during September-November for the next year’s spring and summer collection. The shows are typically held a few months ahead of season so that designers, buyers, and press can preview designs and make purchases in advance. They are also held months in advance so that retailers and other sellers can use the designs in their marketing strategies.

How the World Wars shaped the Fashion Weeks

Although it wasn’t officially called a fashion week, the first fashion event was held in Paris in August 1914. At the time, French fashion was so popular across the world that without it, there wouldn’t have been any fashion! The French involvement in World War I meant that many countries across the world wouldn’t have access to French designs, so Edna Woolman Chase, the American editor-in-chief of Vogue encouraged American dress-makers to design their own shows. The concept was a hit, and laid the foundations for American fashion designers.

When World War II broke out, the fashion industry found themselves in the same situation. This time fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert created an event called the ‘Press Week’; it was designed to showcase the best of American fashion and distract attention from French fashion. The event was a roaring success and therefore the New York Fashion Week was born!

In 1973 the Paris Fashion Week started, followed by the Milan Fashion Week in 1979. Both had seen the success of New York and wanted to be part of the global fashion industry. Not content with being the poor relation, London wanted a share of the pie and thus the first London Fashion Week was set up and run in 1984, in a West London car park, no less!

Today the New York, London, Milan and Paris Fashion Weeks showcase the best of the world’s fashion and are considered the ‘big four’. Smaller events in the likes of Berlin, Los Angeles, Madrid, Tokyo and Toronto have been organised and run, but none have the same influence and dominance of the ‘big four’.

Did you attend any of the Fashion Weeks this year? Did you have a favourite designer or design? Let us know on our Facebook, Twitter or Google+ page, you can also check out our highlights from the London Fashion Week 2013 on our blog.

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