Aside from the clothes, accessories, styling, and those who wear them, one of the things that define the fashion industry is the coming together of people who have in one way or the other been defined by fashion — fashion events.
Fashion events have been held for as long as fashion has existed, and through the years, there’s been an evolution. Now in 2021, we count down to the top fashion events that are defining the fashion world internationally and see what exactly makes them stand out.
New York Fashion Week – New York, U.S.A.
First on the list of the ‘Big Four’ of the most famous fashion weeks in the world is the New York Fashion Week. And it also happens to be the first of these fashion weeks that kick off the year and the fashion season! It typically takes place in February, and this year wasn’t an exception, as the NYFW held from February 14 to 17, 2021.
The first time the New York Fashion Week was held was in 1943. It was created by the then Press Director of the New York Dress Institute, Eleanor Lambert. It was tagged the American fashion industry’s first promotional organization.
The official schedule of the New York Fashion Week has now been renamed to the American Collections Calendar, by the CFDA Chairman, Tom Ford. This for it to reflect the growing number of American designers showing in locations outside of New York.
However, due to the pandemic-triggered changes to the world, the New York Fashion Week was partly online and offline. Irrespective, the New York Fashion Week remains one of the most respected and highly anticipated fashion events in the world today.
London Fashion Week – London, U.K.
Next on the list is another of the “Big Four” fashion weeks, the London Fashion Week. Although the London Fashion Week is one of the youngest fashion weeks and indeed, the youngest within the Big Four, it has fast become a household name and made a lasting impression on the public. Every fashion designer, creator, or enthusiast has looked forward to the LFS every year since its inception in October 1983.
History of the London Fashion Week shows that it started in a car park as its first location, but has gone on to dominate the streets of London and the hearts of every fashion-inclined person in the world. It lasts just about five days, and this year, it was held from February 19 to 23.
Just like the New York Fashion Week, it was streamed on the official website of the fashion week, which contained multi-media content like exclusive interviews with designers, podcasts, and e-commerce, in addition to the main content of collections for the week.
A total of 95 different designers graced the runway of the London Fashion Week, which included 34 females, 22 males, 29 unisex, and 10 accessory brands.
Paris Fashion Week – Paris, France.
The Paris Fashion Week started out 10 whole years before the London Fashion Week launched, and it has since then held its ground as one of the Big Four fashion weeks to exist today. It’s the second oldest fashion week as it’s existed since 1973 and was conceived by the Fédération Française de la Couture. Paris Fashion Week was first held at the Palace of Versailles but held in the Carrousel du Louvre in recent years.
Of the Big Four, Paris Fashion Week holds last and lasts the longest, as it’s usually more than a week – a whole nine days. The Paris fashion week had two editions this year, one in January and March, then June and September.
The one in January was held between 19 and 24, and was dedicated to men’s collections for Fall/Winter 2020/2021, while the one dedicated to the women’s collection was held from March 1 to 9.
For the Spring/Summer collection, the one dedicated to men was held from June 22 to 27, while the one dedicated to women will hold from 27 September to 5 October.
Milan Fashion Week – Milan, Italy.
Ending our list of the Big Four fashion weeks is the Milan Fashion week. The Milan Fashion Week is held twice a year in Milan, Italy. The Spring/Summer Show Event is held in September/October, while the Fall/Winter one is held in February/March.
The origin of the Milan Fashion Week can be traced to Giovanni Battista Giorgini. He was inspired by the mother of fashion week, Eleanor Lambert, and then went on to organize a series of shows at Palazzo Pitti in Florence. The Milan Fashion Week is one of the reasons why Italian fashion gained international recognition and made Milan the capital of fashion in the country. The shows were initially supposed to continue in Florence, but due to overcrowding, it was moved to Milan in 1975.
The Fall/Winter Show Event was held from January 15 to 19 for the men’s edition, which included five live fashion shows and 32 digital content visible on online platforms. For the women’s collection, it included 124 appointments – 61 fashion shows and 57 presentations (15 of which were physical and 42 digital).
Met Gala 2021
Met Gala is probably the most famous and sought-after fashion event in the world today. The Met Gala is also called the Met Ball, and is a benefit fundraising gala of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in New York City.
The first edition of the Met Gala took place in 1948 and was aimed at raising funds for the new Costume Institute. However, it has evolved into an exhibition that places fashion within the context of contemporary culture.
The Met Gala usually happens in the first week in May, but as a result of the pandemic and the re-organization of activities, it’s scheduled to hold on 13 September. The theme is “American Independence” and will be presented in two parts. The museum announced Billie Eilish, Timothee Chalamet, Amanda Gorman, and Naomi Osaka as co-chairs of this year’s event.
Tokyo Fashion Week – Tokyo, Japan
Japan has an outstanding fashion industry that’s influenced a good part of the fashion world. One way the Asian country has been able to retain its title is through its Tokyo Fashion Week. The Tokyo Fashion Week is officially referred to as the Rakuten Fashion Week TOKYO, and is hosted by the Japan Fashion Week Organization. It’s a biannual fashion event held in March (Autumn/Winter collection) and October (for the Spring/Summer collection).
However, this year, due to the pandemic and the need to increase the interest in Japan’s new rich reality represented by the designers, the dates were moved from August 30 to September 4, 2021.
Since 2005, Tokyo has been climbing the social ladder and is looking to expand the group to the “Big 5”. This year, Japan’s latest creations are showcased to the world at Shibuya Hikarie and Omotesando Hills, as well as other locations in Tokyo.
Shanghai Fashion Week – Shanghai, China
The Shanghai Fashion Week is yet another top fashion event from the Asian continent. Founded in 2001, the Shanghai Fashion Week is held twice a year in Shanghai, and it is part of the Shanghai International Fashion Culture Festival which usually lasts for a month. Since its inception, it’s been supported by the Ministry of Commerce since it is a business and cultural event hosted by the Shanghai Municipal Government.
The Fall 2021 edition of the Shanghai Fashion Week was held in early April and was focused on new faces and business-to-consumer initiatives. The 8-day fashion show has always sought to establish a comprehensive fashion ecosystem that stimulates industry parties to create outstanding pieces.
Paris Haute Couture Week – Paris, France
The Paris Haute Couture Week is another headlining fashion event from France, but this time the Haute Couture is the creation of exclusive custom-fit clothing which is meticulously crafted by the industry’s most skilled artisans. The event can be traced back to Charles Frederick Worth, who founded the first true Couture House in 1858.
The collections from Haute Couture are usually presented twice a year – January and July. This year, the Spring/Summer collection was presented from January 25 to 28, while the Autumn/Winter one was presented from July 4 to 8.
Pitti Uomo – Florence, Italy
Italy also has another headlining fashion event, and it’s the Pitti Immagine Uomo fashion event. It’s usually the first event that marks the beginning of the fashion industry year, as it’s usually held in early January.
However, this fashion event stands out because it presents men’s clothing and accessories collections from the best international designers twice a year. The event is the meeting point for buyers from all over the world who focus on the quality of Made in Italy international brands.
Originating in the 1950s as a result of the Florentine artisan tailors’ growth and popularity, Pitti Uomo was initially called the First Italian High Fashion Show on February 12, 1952, and was surprisingly dedicated to women’s fashion.
This year, from 12 January, Pitti Uomo began to showcase the special events and fashion projects that had been lined up on its digital website and platforms till the end of March. However, unlike previous years, this year was divided into three areas to give representation to the classic-contemporary world (Fantastic Classic), sportswear and the outdoors (Dynamic Attitude), and research (SuperStyling).
This year includes new functions that have been designed and built for the needs of companies in their relationship with buyers in order to give exhibitors the opportunity to release more content.
CFDA Fashion Awards – New York, U.S.A
Occasionally referred to as the Oscars of fashion, the CFDA Fashion Awards is organized by the Council of Fashion Designers of America, which honors excellence in fashion design in America.
The first awards issued by the Association were in 1984, with a Lifetime Achievement Award to the stylist James Galanos. Since then, the CFDA has created several award categories that were standardized as time went on.
In 2020, the award was held digitally on its online platform in September, with Tom Ford announcing winners of the different categories.
On 26 February, the CDFA announced the launching of IMPACT, a new, multi-faceted initiative to create opportunities for historically underrepresented and unsupported communities in fashion.
As CFDA states, “IMPACT will identify, connect, support, and nurture Black and Brown creatives and professionals in fashion, furthering CFDA’s mission to advance American fashion by including diverse talent in every facet of the industry’s ecosystem.”
Green Carpet Fashion Awards – Milan, Italy
Last on our list is the Green Carpet Fashion Awards. Also an award show, Green Carpet Fashion Awards is an innovative event created to promote and reward fashion houses and emerging designers committed to making their products sustainable and ethical. Hence, the name ‘Green’.
Since 2017, the National Chamber of Italian Fashion and Eco-Age, a sustainability consultancy agency founded by Livia Firth, has collaborated to confer awards on stylists, entrepreneurs, and artisans who have encouraged sustainability in the fashion sector.
Last year, the fourth edition of the GCFAs was broadcast on Saturday, 10 October, on Sky Uno. They were also broadcast during Shanghai Fashion Week, where a special event was held to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the relationship between Italy and China.
This year, the award show will be held on October 9.
These fashion events are the holy grail of the fashion industry. Do you have plans to attend any of these in the near future? Thankfully, digitalization has made attendance easy.