Four fashion cities? Be prepared to think again. The world of fashion week is often associated with glamorous models showcasing clothes that only some of the wealthiest fans can afford, or celebrities having the luxury of being given, at shows even fewer of us can attend.

Instinctively we all think of the four biggest influential showcase cities: New York, London, Milan and Paris. Yet fashion is much more widespread and diverse than this general preconception.

Sydney had the privilege of hosting Karl Lagerfeld’s Chanel Little Black Jacket exhibition. The legendary fashion icon took his time to photograph over 100 mostly black-and-white portraits of celebrities wearing the same black Chanel leather jacket. The images, which were originally taken for The Little Black Jacket book, were displayed in a vast warehouse with free entrance to the public. As if that wasn’t enough, Chanel also created smaller showcases entirely dedicated to the little black jacket in their boutiques across Australia. 

Elsewhere in the world, Haiti witnessed its first ever fashion week a fortnight ago, impressing visitors from as far as Japan with its talent, proving that no country is excluded from celebrating fashion and talented designers. Visitors from around the globe descended on the Caribbean island to view over 30 designers’ often overlooked, yet world-class, fashion. Haiti’s vibrant and diverse culture was reflected in many of the designs, which many hope will attract the attention of international buyers and help the impoverished country rebuild itself after the tragic 2010 earthquake. The full collection can be seen by clicking here.

Sao Paulo Fashion Week’s catwalk welcomed Mister M, a reformed drugs baron earlier this month. 27-year old Diego Santos, as his real name goes, decided to pursue his dream of becoming a model after turning himself in to police in 2010 and serving a nine-month jail sentence. How did he get the job? The ex-mobster claims a photo taken upon his release from jail, which was then picked up by Brazil’s media, attracted the local fashion world’s attention. Santos now hopes to bring something new to the country’s fashion legacy by replacing ‘skinny’ models.

From the unexpected, to the inspirational, to the downright bizarre, fashion’s global outreach has as much to offer as the established fashion centres in the Western world. We need to venture outside of our comfort zone to see how diverse and quirky the fashion world can be, and look past the dominant notion of what constitutes as fashion. 


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