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New York fashion – influential fashion capital

September 26, 2016

During a time of cultural change and heavy music influence, New York fashion has risen to complement the likes of its rival cities.As one of the ‘Big Four’ in fashion, New York has made a name for itself as one of the most diverse and influential fashion capitals in the industry. Its strong urban essence has flourished in the style stakes, with much of its characteristics rising from its fame in sportswear clothing.  It features different characteristics to the cultural fashion of Paris, luxury industry in Milan and traditional roots of London. Since its growth in fashion power since the 20th century, we’ve seen New York fashion develop its own status in high-class fashion design, with many design schools creating key designers of present day.

New York fashion – Urban influence

New York joined the ranks in fashion week alongside its European counterparts. It now hosts one of the biggest and celebrity studded events in the fashion calendar. Take a look at the evolution of New York fashion and its influence on modern trends and society.

New York’s cultural influence

Boasting one of the most diverse populations in the world, New York has become a haven for unique style. The ‘city that never sleeps’ has developed its own sense of ‘cool’ with designers creating hybrid looks, complementing the something for everyone approach. New York’s art scene has had a huge influence with anything from the graffiti culture to its heavy music scene playing an important and eclectic part.


For many, New York fashion symbolises a unique and individual style and the chance to express yourself. Although there are plenty of high end and luxury shopping districts, there are also plenty of the latter. Flea markets, thrift shops and vintage shops scatter the city offering the perfect shopping experience for unique shoppers. These stores give New York fashionistas the option to improvise, mix and match and the chance to embrace the city’s well-known urban influences.

Sportswear trends

Often described as one of America’s biggest contribution to fashion, sportswear has made huge waves in fashion history. In the 20th century, urban inspirations came to light in fashion. Sportswear was a big hit and featured in several music videos, bringing it into everyday wear.

More recent examples include the creation of athleisure clothing, incorporating big celebrity names to flaunt this new trend. America’s hip-hop culture and music were big influencers in sportswear fashion and we’ve seen modern examples strutting the catwalk during New York fashion week. New York fashion designers and houses including Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren ad Tommy Hilfiger to name a few, have evolved with the ever-changing need and want for sportswear trends.

New York fashion designers

Here are some of the world’s most influential and popular New York fashion designers including well-known sportswear fashion names.

Claire McCardell

Hailed as the creator of sportswear, McCardell was a talented fashion designer of the 20th century. Her collections included American fashion favourites including the jersey jacket, jersey tops and taffeta skirts. Her cultural influences included that of European design after travelling to Paris for inspiration. During war times, she used the shortage in materials to create a popular ballet pump. In 1946, McCardell won the Best Sportswear Designer Award and her ‘American Look’ was a huge hit in the industry.

Tommy Hilfiger

This well-known New York born designer, created waves with urban influenced design. Often inspired by the music of fashion and its culture, in the early 90s Hilfiger flourished in the celebrity domain. Singers were wearing urban and sportswear lines designed by Hilfiger including stars such as Britney Spears, Lenny Kravit’s and R&B icon Aaliyah. This popular brand appealed to every fashion sector from the American preppy look to the hip-hip music scene.

Donna Karen

After starting her career with women’s sportswear designer Anne Klein, Donna Karen had roots in athleisure creation. Known for her ‘Essentials’ line that could be paired with a variety of looks. This New York fashion designer paved the way for the now popular sportswear mixed urban style. She later created the DKNY range that was popular with young people around the world. This affordable brand gave new life to denim too with her range of designer jeans.

New York fashion rising

With the essence of New York fashion week creating a whirlwind of trends and style, we look to the rising stars amongst the crowd. In recent years the rise in people wanting to get into the fashion industry, in whatever shape or form has risen dramatically. New York is now one of the most desirable places to learn from the best. Attending one of New York’s fashion schools can create that much wanted career in design. Famous names that flourished from New York fashion schools include Donna Karen, Marc Jacobs, Tom Ford and Carolina Herrera. With some of the top fashion schools in the world, New York is becoming the capital for the rising fashion stars for the future.

Functional fashion and unique style

In American history functional fashion has been a solid figure in the industry. From the times of Levi’s creation, where people needed a practical item of clothing to its sportswear roots. Fashion in American has developed from a need for function to a want for fashion. Modern fashion changes have seen function items created into must have unique pieces still with an emphasis on American tradition.


New York fashion is creating a strong and urban influence compared to the other fashion capitals offering a unique and inspirational look. The recent New York fashion week has given us an insight into the new season with fantastic selection of emerging and established designers. Many collections illustrate the perfect balance between New York and America’s unique and individual styling paired beautifully with its functional and wearable fashion for modern day living.


New York graffiti art

New York street performers

Sportswear trends at New York fashion Week

Claire McCardell swimsuit 1946

Tommy Hilfiger talking with design students

Urban advertising

Backstage at New York Fashion Week

New York’s unique style