Emerging Fashion Epicenters and Where They Can Be Found

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African fashion via Pinterest
Photo: Courtesy of Pinterest

As the start of Fashion Month approaches, the world will look to New York, London, Milan, and Paris to define new trends and break new ground in the field of design. However, there are over 40 fashion weeks that occur worldwide every year and there is very promising talent that comes out of them. Although this talent has yet to reach the stratospheric heights of the four fashion capitals, there are five contenders that are proving to be rich with innovative design. These emerging epicenters of fashion are not only reflecting facets of culture that tend to be overlooked, but they are also growing rapidly with the aid of government and private investment.

In this installment of Fashion Decoded, we will look at what has helped shape these important fashion zones and, in the following weeks, we’ll explore the best designers to come out of each region. If you consider yourself “in the know”, it’s time to familiarize yourself with five new emerging fashion capitals that are set to give New York, London, Milan, and Paris a run for their money.


South Africa

South Africa fashion editorial shot by Lauren Fletcher
Photo: Courtesy of Lauren Fletcher

Johannesburg, Capetown, and Soweto are three major cities in South Africa that are doing fashion right. Not only do they have the support of the government in their South Africa Fashion Week endeavors, but they also have a fashion district that launched in 2006 and houses over 100 fashion designers and trains them in multiple crafts. The vibrant and beautiful culture of Africa translates into surreal, colorful fashion that has recently been taking the runway and editorial world by storm.




Cavalera Sao Paulo Fashion Week 2011 Frida Kahlo Collection
Photo: Courtesy of Pinterest

Sao Paulo Fashion Week is considered to be the fifth largest fashion event on the globe, while Brazil itself has the fifth largest apparel market in the world, where 60 percent of the market is controlled by domestic brands. Not only is Brazil a land filled with beauty and inspiration everywhere you look, but the rapid growth of the country’s GDP has pumped the economy full of ready cash – which in turn becomes investment in Brazil’s many talented fashion designers and their exquisite work. The Brazilian government lent a hand by launching the Brazil Fashion System and Texbrasil (which aims to foster Brazilian internationalization).


Manish Arora SS08
Photo: Courtesy of Getty Images

You may have seen news bites recently about the rapid growth of India’s fashion sector, with luxury brands beginning to target the country by expanding their presence there. The reason why India has rapidly become an emerging fashion epicenter has everything to do with the country’s increase in disposable income, growing female consumer segment (more women are now working and making their own money), and the increase of individualization that has come as a byproduct of India’s Westernization. Globalization, it seems, is at the root of every new fashion zone’s growing success.


ellery australia fashion
Photo: Courtesy of Ellery

There are several areas in Australia that are working hard to promote the country’s fashion talent, from Adelaide Fashion Festival to Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia. Not only are Australian designers uniquely skilled at forging powerful, creative identities with their respective collections, but they are also strategic at their use of social media, making their rise to household names faster than most. For instance, it was only a few years ago that we first heard of Ellery, but now the brand’s gorgeous, full-sleeved creations are splashed across editorial pages from here to Canada. With so many new designers joining the cause, Australia is posed to make a large impact on the industry as a whole.

United Arab Emirates

Taller Marmo
Photo: Courtesy of Taller Marmo

It almost goes without saying that Savoir Flair sees the UAE as an emerging fashion epicenter, but there are plenty of facts to back that up. Of course, our region contains immense buying power, which is why it has been so attractive to the luxury industry, but it takes more than the presence of high-fashion labels in the UAE to be able to call yourself an epicenter. What you must have is homegrown talent, and, luckily, our emirates have that in spades. The Dubai Chamber of Commerce is also responsible for shaping the fashion industry here with government-sponsored initiatives and fashion events that support tourism. With the finishing touches being put on a dedicated design district and a host of other educational initiatives in the works, the UAE’s contributions to the global fashion industry are only getting stronger.


Check back next week, when we’ll begin discussing the best designers in each of the five emerging epicenters listed here.

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