Fashion in the city: designers and creatives on what makes their city stylish

Though fashion is becoming a more global industry, certain cities still run the show. We talk to young designers and creatives to understand what makes these fashionable cities unique

Directly from New York City: NiNA TiARi's Street Style Story

Directly from New York City: NiNA TiARi's Street Style Story

Category Cities Tips & tricks

Contributor Marta Baniukiewicz

Date 7th July 2017

Whether it’s minimalistic cool or colourful and eye-catching, every city sports a different style that mirrors its culture, weather and history. Yet some cities have that ‘It’ that puts them at the forefront of fashion and style.

We’ve put together a list of the most fashionable cities in the world and sat down with designers, boutique owners and other creatives to understand the current fashion trends, what makes their city stylish and which places and events inspire them.

Paris – Centre Commercial, Sébastien and François

Sébastien Kopp and François Morillion – founders of Centre Commercial
Sébastien Kopp and François Morillion – founders of Centre Commercial

With a long-standing history in the luxury-goods market, Paris continues to stand tall as one of the world’s most fashionable cities. Boutique-owners Sébastien and François unveil some of the city’s secrets.

While women go for the classical style, sporting heels and skirts, men are not as well-dressed. Yet the 1% does flaunt a more preppy style than you would probably see elsewhere. The style is a bit more restrained than in places like London or Tokyo – “we keep it simple and quiet, but smart.” Paris isn’t the trendsetter you would think it is – “there is nothing coming from Paris more than other cities. Actually, we are more inspired by Berlin, New York and Copenhagen.”

What makes Paris a great source of inspiration, you might ask. “The light, the sunset and the sky, which is sometimes pink, the architecture that makes you feel like you are living two centuries ago, cafes with outside terraces everywhere you turn.”

Interior of Centre Commercial
Interior of Centre Commercial

After dabbling in the environmentally-friendly sneaker market, Sébastien Kopp and François Morillion decided to widen their horizons and create a store/creative space. The result was Centre Commercial. The space welcomes one of the capital’s most interesting selection of mens- and womenswear, and can also be transformed into a meeting space for product launches or events.

Berlin – Steinrohner, Inna and Caroline

Steinrohner's founders – Inna and Caroline
Steinrohner’s founders – Inna and Caroline © Christine Kreiselmaier

Inna Stein and Caroline Rohner, the duo behind the young Berlin-based label Steinroher, spill the beans on what makes Berlin one of the most interesting fashion meccas in the world.

“People do not follow the fashion industry, they create their own styles, mostly inspired by the club culture and the art scene. The trend is to wear clothing which seems imperfect and a bit freaky”, Inna and Caroline tell us.

As far as shopping habits go, Berliners prefer finding their next gems at flea markets. One thing not to worry about here is high heels: “In Paris, we saw lots of high heels on the streets, combined in a very cool way and completely integrated into everyday life. That’s quite rare in Berlin, to wear heels.”

When it comes to sources of inspiration, Inna and Caroline have no shortage of places: cosy restaurant Pri Maria and Beuster for late night cocktails. When an escape is needed, the duo explores the nature areas in Brandenburg.

Steinrohner – Édition Cactus
Steinrohner – Édition Cactus © Christine Kreiselmaier

Steinrohner is Inna Stein and Caroline Rohner, with roots in Russia and Switzerland. The two designers met during their Fashion Design Studies at Kunsthochschule Berlin and decided to create their own label, Steinrohner, in 2013.

Copenhagen – Henrik Vibskov Boutique, Rune Park

Rune Park – Henrik Vibskov Boutique
Rune Park – Henrik Vibskov Boutique

In order to get an understanding for that easy-going, unpretentious style Copenhageners are known for, we’ve sat down with Rune Park, Buyer at Henrik Vibskov Boutique.

Rune defines the local style as relaxed and uncomplicated, yet still elegant and sophisticated. “The essence of the local style is elegant yet functional with a twist, as we all need to be able to get around on a bike. One can find everything from contemporary streetwear to avant-garde high fashion and Scandinavian minimalism.”

Copenhageners don’t just follow prescribed fashion trends – they “are very good at lending their own twist to their look with unexpected colours, prints and layers.” Something you’ll see plenty of here are sneakers. “Sneakers have been very popular among the Danes for a while now. The Danish girls were actually among the first ones to wear evening dresses with sneakers.”

Asked where he finds inspiration, Rune talks about his home district of Vesterbro, an area known for its diversity and independent spirit that attracts many artists, designers and other creatives.

Interior of Henrik Vibskov Boutique
Interior of Henrik Vibskov Boutique

Rune Park holds a BA in fashion management and has worked in buying, branding, design, retail and marketing for brands such as Hugo Boss and Armani.

The Henrik Vibskov Boutique, open since 2006, is a multi-brand store carrying brands such as Commes Des Garcons, Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto, Raf Simons, Y-3 as well as a range of other up-and-coming designers and artists.

Helsinki – PRE Helsinki, Maija Juutilainen

Though tucked away in the cold corners of Northern Europe, Helsinki manages to create waves that spill through the fashion world. Maija Juutilainen, PR and Marketing Director at PRE Helsinki explains the ins and outs of Helsinki’s fashion scene.

Weather plays an important role in how Finns dress. “Due to pretty extreme temperatures, fashion in Helsinki is quite seasonal and practical, and so is our use of colour. Winter is all about black and grey coats and sweaters, while summer means more colour and prints.”

What sets Helsinkians’ style apart is the mixture of eastern and western influences with personalised additions.

So where should you look for inspiration if you’re interested in emulating the Helsinki style? Hel-Looks, one of Helsinki’s greatest street style blogs, provides a unique perspective on the local fashion scene. The annual Flow Festival gathers Helsinkians together at one of the city’s coolest venues, an old power plant close to the city centre.

One of PRE Helsinki's designer labels – Juslin Maunula – showcasing their collection
One of PRE Helsinki’s designer labels – Juslin Maunula – showcasing their collection ©Lina Jelanski

PRE Helsinki is an organisation focusing on the internationalisation and export of Finnish fashion. The platform, founded in 2012, promotes and supports the most creative and talented Finnish fashion designers and brands.

Istanbul – Merve Odabaşı

Merve Odabaşı
Merve Odabaşı

Istanbul, a city of many colours and facets, is sure to make its mark on the fashion world. Young designer Merve Odabaşı reveals some of the city’s secrets when it comes to fashion and style.

“Istanbul prefers clothes that can move lightly and comfortably, such as thin t-shirts, blouses, skirts, denim trousers or shorts. Turkish people generally like to wear colourful, lively clothes.” One thing Istanbulites go for is attracting attention through eye-catching and showy clothes.

Merve finds inspiration in Istanbul’s striking architecture and beautiful landscape, like the Istanbul Strait, Hagia Sophia, Basilica Cistern, Galata Tower and the Grand Bazaar, one of the oldest covered markets in the world.

Merve Odabasi's QUILT design with Istanbul in the background
Merve Odabasi’s QUILT design with Istanbul in the background

Merve developed an interest in design at an early age. In 2012 she successfully graduated from the Dokuz Eylul University Graduate School of Fine Arts and went on to work for label Lug Von Siga.  In 2015 she designed her own collection – QUILT – that went on to win the Koza Young Fashion Designers award.

Los Angeles – Sonia Boyajian

Sonia Boyajian
Sonia Boyajian

Jewellery designer Sonia Boyajian gives us the lowdown on what makes sun-soaked Los Angeles one of the most fashionable cities in the world.

Colour is an important element. “We are not afraid of wearing colour and bold prints.” Hippie culture is an important influence, and looking around you’ll get a grip of that rock’n’roll bohemian vibe where “anything goes – jeans, loose fit tops, bright colours and cashmere sweaters.” Workout wear with a to-go juice in hand is also very popular.

Some of the places Sonia takes inspiration from are the mountains at Griffith Park (where the Hollywood sign is), the Hollywood Farmers’ Market, the Hauser & Wirth art gallery, vintage shop The Way We Wore and the Pasadena City College Flea Market.

Sonia Boyajian's studio in Los Angeles
Sonia Boyajian’s studio in Los Angeles

Sonia Boyajian designs pieces of jewellery that help tell the story of the women who wear them. Her pieces strive to bring together texture, material, culture, and mood into harmony, creating personal adornments that become a tangible expression of the individual.

New York – NiNA TiARi

Nina Tiari
Nina Tiari

Crowned year after year as the world’s fashion capital, we’ve enlisted New York-based designer Nina Tiari to throw light upon the profound relationship between New York and fashion.

“In New York, we usually count ourselves as our preferred mode of transportation. With that said, New Yorkers prefer to wear pieces that are usually functional to get around with minimal discomfort, versatile to take us from day to night, and all the while showing individuality, personality and great taste. We don’t hide in stylish cars to make an impression, we wear it!”

The city itself, with its buildings, street art and colours, is a source of inspiration. “I enjoy taking long walks from neighbourhood to neighbourhood and noticing how the colours of the buildings meet the sky and the trees, the vast difference in style when the seasons change, and admiring the way the ripped advertisements mix with graffiti, creating interesting textures and colour palettes.”

NiNA TiARi's Street Style Story
NiNA TiARi’s Street Style Story

Nina Tiari studied at Parsons, New School for Design with a background in Fashion Design, and New York University with a concentration in Art History; she continued her study of fashion by styling reputable clients such as Kanye West, Jay Z and Madonna.

London – The Fashion Samaritan, Luke Ross

Luke Ross – the founder of The Fashion Samaritan
Luke Ross – the founder of The Fashion Samaritan

London town, home to of some of the world’s most trendsetting fashion labels, sits among the stars when it comes to style. Luke Ross, the voice behind The Fashion Samaritan blog, tells us a bit about the local fashion scene.

Luke points out two things that influence the local style: the moody weather that sparked beautiful outwear creations from quintessential British brands like Burberry, Belstaff and Barbour, and British tailoring that has moved beyond the serious and corporate as exemplified by Paul Smith.

London is currently witnessing an emerging experimental style. “After years of celebrating traditional tailoring, London has recognised the fresh talents, which are invested in creating clothing that catches the eye and pushes the envelope. Think J.W. Anderson, Christopher Kane and Craig Green – they are known for putting their own interesting and unusual twists on clothing.”

Some of the inspirational places and events Luke gives away include the Soho Food Feast, the Balenciaga exhibition at the V&A, the architecture of the city embodied in “the bright-coloured houses of Notting Hill, the amazing views of the skyline at One New Change, and the historical craftsmanship of Somerset House.”

Luke Ross on the streets of London
Luke Ross on the streets of London

Luke Ross moved to London from Australia to study fashion design and textile development but somehow found himself moving more into styling and magazine work since graduating. In want of a daily creative outlet, he started The Fashion Samaritan – a hub of things that inspire him and hopefully others.

Milan – Freaky Friday, Sabrina Musco

Sabrina Musco – the force behind the Freaky Friday fashion blog
Sabrina Musco – the force behind the Freaky Friday fashion blog

Among the original “Big Four” fashion capitals (London, Paris and New York), Milan is home to 12,000 fashion companies and 6,000 stores. Not to mention the semi-annual Milan Fashion Week that gathers a veritable who’s who of the international fashion scene.

Fashion blogger Sabrina Musco talks to us about Milan’s style and why it is outstanding.

“The Italian style is famous and distinguishable around the world, and Milan is modern, avant-garde and projected towards Europe”, Sabrina explains. Furthermore, she adds that living in Milan feels like a paradox. “Among the Italian cities, Milan stands out due to its international profile, so you can get a full Italian lifestyle experience while being in touch with the rest of the world.”

When Sabrina is in search of new ideas, she has two go-to places. The cosy and welcoming restaurant Fuori Mano, located a 20-minute drive from the city centre, and Al Fresco, where you will fine dine among cherry trees, wisteria plants and honeysuckle shrubs. As the restaurant owner puts it, the atmosphere created is “part greenhouse, part Italian bistrot, part artist’s studio.”

Sabrina Musco is the founder of Freaky Friday, a virtual diary of stories, images, magical places, fashion inspiration and tasteful ideas.

Don’t go just yet! Find your next European city break or if it’s food you’re travelling for, explore the best food cities around

Originally published

7th July 2017
Marta Baniukiewicz

Marta is our design and art loving Photo Archivist. Having lived in five different countries, she’s worked up an appetite for fashion, photography, sailing, and … well, food. Her travel bug is itching her to explore India, Central and South America next.