16 February 2015

Why Paris was, is, and always will be the Fashion Capital.

Somewhere along the days, weeks and months of my last post I just got sidetracked with the Christmas, New Year, my birthday, my job, finding out I'd be going away for a few months, spending the remaining days in the country with my best friend and celebrating Valentines etc, etc, etc and lost the mojo to seriously post. I'd rather not post for months on end and then post something worth reading rather than be posting unrefined things that capture my attention.
I was going to leave my blog to linger for a bit more until I went away but someone asked me, between Paris and London, which is the true capital city of #fashion. I was going to give a really half-assed answer but then I realised there really is a lot to it and it'd be nice to write (since I haven't written in ages) and to get in-depth about it would be fun, for anyone who's interested really. (Rather I'm writing this for my own purpose to boost my brain's working ability before I start school again.)

Paris has always been the fashion capital of the world and I don't think I've ever met anyone who's disagreed with this. Even with romance, food, and (the ideal young adult) lifestyle, Paris is brimming with style, history and culture of fashion. It's true that while other places like Tokyo, Milan, London, New York, Melbourne are also fashion capitals, they don't seem to fair on the same level. Even with designers like Phoebe Philo or Christopher Kane, or even the late McQueen who are internationally recognised as designers not from Paris, at one point, every designer has dreamt or even considered moving to Paris for inspiration or just to get in touch with the city's point view of the industry. So what makes Paris so different from any other city that's capable of producing emerging talent that could possibly because an international success in the industry?

The French are very serious are the industry that's within their hands. You won't see any American or Australian politics go out of their way to protect designers and their i.p work - you walk around with a counterfeit piece of clothing or accessory of Chanel or Louis Vuitton in Paris and you could actually be fined, which at first I thought was wild but I can see why and how it works.It's a serious offence  to the point where it's taken to the airports to make sure no counterfeit goods make it outside into the city. The French take couture very seriously too, the term itself is protected by French law and takes in very high eligibility for who can become a member. Christian Lacroix was one of the French's most favoured houses for couture and to prove that the French take fashion as a lifestyle, the courts were extremely favourable to the house when it had to file for bankruptcy due to lack of profits because of couture (prices and the dying culture of it, apparently.) You will never see this outside of Paris.
The schools in London and company around the world are very differently from Paris. Yes, I have to admit that the schools in London designed for fashion especially are very good and I, myself had considered Central Saint Martins since it's the dream school (but that was before I realised how far I'd have to fly.) The school produced many fashion prodigies and yes some of them are internationally acclaimed, but the overall approach at schools in Paris different from their counterparts.
I've read that French fashion schools work to foster more on individual technical skills, which makes it very hard to actually get into a course if you aren't a hands on person, whereas a school like CSM help clusters of students to find their strengths through theory work.Which is why, when you look at a cluster of young designers from London and compare them to clusters from Paris, you can see that London designers have designs and ideas but they're all very basic and just there, whereas Paris designers, even rookie would be able to produce something that could rival couture. (Almost.)
French schools don't have graduate schools like they do at Parsons or Antwerp or even CSM actually.
What makes everyone so keen to study at CSM is that there is all the hype about having professionals in the industry watching and potentially picking up young talent and sometimes even has graduates showcase at the annual LFW which is a huge difference. But, the thing is that the actual market in the UK is tiny compared to that of Paris by tenfolds.

Didier Grumbach, who is apart of the Chambre Syndicale for Couture, said that the industry in Paris keeps a very tight control over which labels are allowed to present on the PFW schedule. So many international designers have actually moved to Paris just to show during PFW that they actually worry that it'll be taken over by other nationalities rather than French designers, very patriotic if you ask me. But it's understandable, Paris owes its international position in the industry due to it's history and rich culture where seamstresses and craftsmen of the industry talking about rich families from overseas going to Paris strictly for French guidance on clothes.
Such international designers include Phillip Lim, Damir Doma, Juun J and even Virgil Abloh (lol). It's the mindset of showing in Paris or being in that atmosphere that generates a greater brand visibility before the entire world of the industry.

So yes, while there is a certain atmopshere that appeals in New York and in London respectively, you cannot deny that there's something about the French and the way they know how to enrich that tradition of creativity and execution that will always make Paris the magnifique fashion capital in the world. Now, tomorrow, probably forever.