The Italian city of Milan is recognised internationally as one of the world’s most important fashion capitals, along with Paris, New York and London. It is additionally recognised as the main sartorial hub in the country, with Rome and Florence being other major centres.
Milan has established a long history within the fields of fashion, textiles and design in general. Throughout the late 19th century, the Lombard capital was a major production centre, benefitting from its status as one of the country’s salient economic and industrial powerhouses.
Milanese fashion, despite taking inspiration from the leading Parisian couture of the time, developed its own approach, which was by nature devoted to sobriety, simplicity and the quality of the fabric. Throughout the 20th century, the city expanded its role as a fashion centre, with a number of rising designers contributing to Milan’s image as a stylistic capital.
Following this development, Milan emerged in the 1970s and 1980s as one of the world’s pre-eminent trendsetters, maintaining this stint well into the 1990s and 2000s and culminating with its entrenchment as one of the “big four” global fashion capitals. As of today, Milan is especially renowned for its role within the prêt-à-porter category of fashion.
In 2009, the city was declared as the “fashion capital of the world” by the Global Language Monitor, even surpassing its relative cities. The next year, Milan dropped out of the top four falling to sixth place, yet in 2011 it returned to fourth place. 2012 saw the city suffer its lowest ranking to date, as it slipped to eighth place.