Tuesday, July 16, 2024

From Berlin to Valencia: Five emerging European fashion hubs

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When one thinks of the fashion capital of Europe, visions of the
Eiffel Tower and the Champs-Élysées of Paris likely come to mind.
Known for its haute couture legacy, Paris shares this title with the
home of Big Ben, London, an incubator for fashion creativity and the
effortlessly cool Milan celebrated for its fashion craftsmanship.
However, over the past few years, a select number of cities across the
continent have begun to challenge the dominance of these fashion
centres. Vying for a spot as potential contenders for the crown of the
next major fashion hub, these cities attract emerging talent,
positively disrupting the industry with innovations. At the same time,
these metropolitans are also drawing in more luxury brands, ethical
companies and retailers looking to put their stamp on the map.
FashionUnited shares its pick of five European cities making waves in
the industry, which could become the next major fashion

Berlin, Germany

An unassuming fashion capital, Berlin’s lack of a historic fashion
pedigree has meant that the city has been undervalued – until now. The
first European city to be awarded the title ‘City of Design’ by
UNESCO, Berlin is home to the densest concentration of fashion
businesses in Germany, with approximately 3.100 companies and 25.400
people employed in the fashion industry. Best known for its cool,
sleek, tailored, and unpredictable sense of street style, creativity,
and individualism are key factors of Berlin fashion. The
Berlin Fashion Week has expanded to include
dedicated sustainable fashion, technology, graduate shows and


  • Fashion companies: Gmbh, Zalando, Liebeskind, Ivy & Oak,
  • Events: Berlin Fashion Week
  • Style: Cool, creative, structured, individual
  • Average Montly Net Salary: 2642,29 euro
  • Average Rent for (one bedroom) Apartment: 814,58 euro
  • Business Lunch (2 people): 50 euro

Berlin has stepped up its efforts to establish itself as the
greenest fashion centre, setting up a green fashion hub in 2020 to
promote sustainable designs. With a dedicated focus on sustainability
and technology, it’s no surprise that several leading ethical labels
have also emerged from Berlin, including HUNDHUND, Philomena Zanetti
and Ewa Herzog. A haven for start-ups, one of the most famous fashion
funders, Rocket Internet, founded e-tailer turned e-com giant Zalando
in Berlin in 2008. Generating close to 8 billion euros in revenue in
2020, other successful etailers like Outfittery have gained
international attention over the years.

Marseille, France

The first city in Europe to import fabrics from the Great Indies
and the former capital of French denim, Marseille fashion roots are
deeper than one may think. Affectionately known as the ‘Old Lady of
the Mediterranean’, this port city has traded textiles and fashion
products since the 16th century. The Rue Paradis and Rue Grignan are
the main streets for luxury in the city, featuring the likes of Louis
Vuitton, Hermes, YSL, Kenzo, Emporio Armani, Chopard and more. But
recently, Marseille has quietly been reinventing itself as a hub for
creativity and emerging talents.


  • Fashion Companies: American Vintage, Sessùn, Kulte, La Nouvelle
  • Events: OpenMyMed
  • Style: Sophisticated, bohemian, contemporary
  • Average Monthly Net Salary: 2261,75 euro
  • Average Rent for (one bedroom) Apartment: 561,94 euro
  • Business Lunch (2 people): 60 euro
American Vintage via SimplyPR
American Vintage via SimplyPR

The birthplace of brands like American Vintage, Kulte, part of
Kaporal, and La Nouvelle, the city supports a growing number of local
designers and concept stores. One of the most famous concept stores,
Jogging, is said to be the Colette of Marseille. Hosting temporary
exhibitions for young fashion talent and a pop-up restaurant each
summer, it’s one of a kind. The city was also the source of
inspiration for designer Simon Porte Jacquemus debut art book,
‘Marseille Je T’aime’. Working with 15 other artists on their
interpretations of the essence and culture of the city, the launch
coincided with a series of exhibitions and a fashion show in 2017
during OpenMyMed, a festival organised by Maison Mode Mediterranee.

Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Rotterdam is a dynamic and multicultural trading port known for its
casual, laid-back yet contemporary street fashion sense. Home to 53
fashion brands, this architectural city supports local creativity,
with brands like Made in RTTRDM offering fashion products produced in
the city. An upcoming fashion hub, the city has been investing in
different initiatives such as De Wasserij, an incubator for designers,
stylists, photographers and students and Getting Closer Fashion
Festival, an event designed to bring consumers closer to their fashion


  • Fashion companies: NAN, Ruby Lee, Susan Bijl, Joline Jolink
  • Events: Getting Closer Fashion Festival, Dutch Sustainable Fashion Week
  • Style: Down-to-earth, contemporary, sustainable street-style
  • Average Montly Net Salary: 2.818,67 euro
  • Average Rent for (one bedroom) Apartment: 1.047,62 euro
  • Business Lunch (2 people): 60 euro
Joline Jolink
Joline Jolink

With a growing taste for sustainable and independent designers like
Daisy Kroon, Jonathan Christopher, and Charlotte Kan, their
effortlessly cool and ethical designs fit right into Rotterdam’s down
to earth mentality and style. Other initiatives, like the SwapShop,
where consumers can swap clothing, are gaining traction and
participating in events like the Dutch Sustainable Fashion Week. Some
brands like House of Afangaro are even working on hosting annual
events like ‘Made in Rotterdam,’ a fashion week.

Valencia, Spain

Brimming with creative energy, Valencia is famous for its thriving
arts and design scene. Throughout the entire city, you will be sure to
find an array of fashion boutiques, from luxury, high-end fashion to
boho chic to local designers and second-hand thrift stores. Home to
several international fashion brands, from Loewe to Carolina Herrera,
two of Valencia’s most well-known designers are Francis Montesinos and
Alex Vidal, who look to their roots and traditional costume for


  • Fashion Companies: Francis Montesinos, Alex Vidal, The Nude Label,
    Vacant, Sepiia
  • Events: Clec Fashion Festival, FIMI Fashion Show, Beauty
  • Style: Boho, colourful, traditional
  • Average Montly Net Salary: 1.399,36 euro
  • Average Rent for (one bedroom) Apartment: 601,19 euro
  • Business Lunch (2 people): 40 euro

Valencia, a hub for handicrafts and artisans, is also a hotspot
for emerging designers specialising in haute couture and evening wear.
Notable local designers include Tonuca, Noelia Navarro and Higinio
Mateu, whose designs have been spotted on runways throughout Spain and
France. New events, such as the Clec Fashion Festival, which
sees the city’s leading chefs collaborate with fashion designers, aim
to fill the gap left by the fashion week.

Zurich, Switzerland

A paradise for multinational businesses, including fashion, due to
its favourable tax regime, there is a reason why several fashion
corporations are relocating their headquarters to Zurich. Leading
luxury names from Gucci to Philipp Plein, Prada, Zegna, Hugo Boss and
Vetements all have set up administrative or supply chain hubs in the
land of chocolate and cheese due to its location and tax regulations.
Richemont, one of the biggest luxury conglomerates, is based in
Switzerland. However, there is more to Switzerland and Zurich than


  • Fashion Companies: Freitag, On, Bally, Vêtements
  • Events: Mode Suisse, Kreislauf 345
  • Style: Conservative, minimal, casual
  • Average Montly Net Salary: 6,298,82 euro
  • Average Rent for (one bedroom) Apartment: 1.586,41 euro
  • Business Lunch (2 people): 110 euro
Vtmnts SS22
Vtmnts SS22

Consistently ranked as one of the world’s most innovative
countries, Zurich is a hive for start-ups and digital investment firms
and consultancies like Loomish, who launched the Fashion Innovation
during Fashion Innovation Week in 2018. Others like the STF offer
working space for textile start-ups and fashion professionals. The
city has also nurtured a lively fashion, creative and design scene,
which remains independent and open to international influences. For
example, Berlin streetwear magazine Highsnobiety will open a luxury
pop-up store at Zurich Airport come November to drive innovation in
the luxury fashion realm.

Source for numbers: Numbeo.com

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