How Does New York Influence Fashion?

My second assignment for Sunglass Hut’s “Full Time Fabulous” competition asked an important but extremely broad question: How does New York inspire fashion?

Thee are many directions in which I think I could have taken this project, but I really wanted to focus on New York’s cultural influence on fashion.

The words “melting pot” seems to be the default phrase of choice when describing New York’s population, cultures and general atmosphere. Every borough hosts dozens of communities whose languages, beliefs, practices and customs differ both slightly and drastically, and yet they all get on the subway, walk together on the street, and weave past one another everyday, maintaining individuality and thriving amongst the masses.

New York City influences fashion in ways other metropolitan cities cannot; it boasts one of the most diverse populations in the world, and this is reflected in the way people dress and how they approach the simplest task of all: getting dressed.There isn’t one mold of “cool” that everyone must adopt in order to survive or fit in. New York’s designers offer high street, grunge, classic, minimalist and conceptual styles that we can all pick and choose from, essentially creating a hybrid style that is our own.

The art scene, graffiti culture, music sphere and general sense of pop-culture rebellion combine to form a cultural hub unique to New York, inspiring designers every year and becoming solidified in countless collections making their way down the runways during New York Fashion Week.

I asked a handful of people around New York how the city influenced their style and fashion decisions. Of course, I ran into women from across the globe and people of all origins. What they all had in common was a strong sense of individuality and the desire to express themselves through their personal style.

Everyone seemed to share the notion that New York not only embraces high fashion, with its high end stores on Fifth Avenue and the luxury boutiques scattered across its landscape, but New York also accepts, and even encourages, improvisation. There are flea markets, thrift stores, vintage boutiques and locally-owned shops, cultivating a mix-and-match, hybrid idea of fashion that the rest of the world has yet to catch on to.

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  1. I guess when I hear of New York fashion, I always think of sophistication and high class kind of dresses. But it seems nice that New York also includes urban sense of fashion, which reflects on their flea markets, thrift stores, vintage boutiques and locally-owned shops. I love mix and match styles, which seems flexible to any trend.

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