Though it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what makes London such a mecca for fashion, there is no denying that the capital as all the right ingredients: world-class shopping, trend-setting designers, an amazing style heritage and some of the biggest names in the industry.
We can’t pick just one, so here is our top 10 selection of what we love most about London fashion:
1. World-famous Shopping Streets
Oxford Street is the busiest shopping street in Europe and offers one and a half miles of department stores and flagship high-street brands. You’ll find all of the big names here, including Selfridges, Marks & Spencer, Debenhams and many more.
For luxury shopping, the city’s elite head to Bond Street, with its wide selection of high fashion from labels including Dolce & Gabbana, Bulgari, Chanel and Louis Vuitton.
There are also several elegant covered shopping arcades for days when Britain’s weather is not co-operating, with Covent Garden being one of the most popular and Burlington Arcade the most discerning.
2. London Fashion Week
This twice-yearly event is one of the most important dates on the calendars of fashion designers, buyers, press and bloggers worldwide. Along with Paris, New York, and Milan, it is considered to be one of the big four fashion weeks and attracts around 5,000 industry attendees every year.
London Fashion Week has launched the careers of many world-famous models and designers including Kate Moss, Stella McCartney, and Alexander McQueen.
3. Twiggy, Mary Quant and the Swinging ‘60s
In London, fashion never dies, but many strongly believe that it was most truly alive during the 1960s. Mary Quant sold hot pants and miniskirts from her King’s Road boutique, Twiggy captivated the world with her iconic cropped hairstyle and long eyelashes, and the whole city was swinging to the soundtrack of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.
4. Markets for Vintage, High Fashion, and Everything In-between
London has markets all over the city, on every day of the week and where you can buy anything from artisan cheeses to rare antiques.
If fashion is your main concern though, the markets certainly won’t let you down. Vintage finds from the ‘50s and ‘60s, unique designer pieces, and bohemian handcrafted garments are all available in abundance.
5. The Best of Young Fashion Talent
London is home to some of the world’s best fashion colleges and some of the fashion industry’s most successful designers have cut their teeth here.
Central Saint Martins College has the most impressive list of alumni, including Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen, Paul Smith, and Jeff Banks. London just seems to keep producing fashion talent year after year, and it’s definitely an inspiring and exciting place to be a young designer.
6. Exclusive Department stores
Whiteleys was London’s first department store, opening in 1867. It was soon followed by a series of upmarket stores including Harrods, Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and Liberty.
London now has department stores scattered all across the city, selling everything from food to footwear. Fashion is of course one of the biggest draws and you can easily occupy yourself shopping for several days, barely stepping outside to move between the different stores.
7. Vidal Sassoon
London’s most famous hairdresser started his career in London’s Mayfair and opened his first salon in 1954. His iconic geometric hairstyles became one of the most sought after styles in the ‘60s and Sassoon cut the hair of Grace Coddington, Mia Farrow and Mary Quant in his trademark wedge bob.
8. Vintage Fashion
The London of today is producing some of the world’s best modern fashion, but it is also a treasure trove of fashions gone by. Vintage boutiques and stalls at many markets allow fashion enthusiasts to find outfits dating back as far as the 1900s, while there are still bargains to be found in charity shops all over the city for those willing to sift through the junk.
9. Street Fashion
London’s fashionistas are no shrinking violets. Camden Lock Market is one of the best places to head for a spot of people watching and some great street fashion looks. You’ll find people dressed to impress all over the city and the best put-together outfits are photographed and featured on top sites including Harpers Bazaar, Vogue and Elle magazine.
10. Outlet Stores
If the flagship designer stores and exclusive department stores are proving too much of a stretch for the contents of your purse, have no fear: London is also one of the best places in Europe for outlet shopping. You’ll find all the big brands at huge discounts and regular sample sales from top designers.