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From San Francisco to Miami: Six emerging American fashion hubs

By Aileen Yu


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Undeniably, America’s most famous fashion capital is New York City with Los Angeles coming close on the heels. In recent years, a number of cities across the US are becoming fast contenders as the next fashion hub whether that’s due to reviving its heritage in denim or disrupting the industry with the latest fashion tech innovations. Another major factor the following emerging style hubs are attracting Millennial and Gen-Z talent has to do with the better quality of life or ethical companies these destinations have to offer. FashionUnited rounded up six American cities bound to make leaps in the industry as the next fashion destination.

Miami, Florida

After New York and Los Angeles, Miami is becoming increasingly important as an American fashion city. Home to Perry Ellis and Art Basel Miami, it has become a hot spot for the fashion crowd during the winter. Dior most recently staged their men's pre-fall show in Miami two days before the official kick-off of Art Basel. With its growth of luxury stores and year around tourist traffic, fashion brands from Europe looking to capitalize on the US market are taking an interest in setting up shop in Miami.

Miami, Florida
  • Fashion companies: Perry Ellis International, Naeem Khan, Eberjey, Bianca Coletti
  • Events: Miami Swim Week, Miami Fashion Week, Art Basel Miami
  • Style: Colorful, youthful, Latin/Caribbean, glamorous
  • Average annual salary: $35,221
  • Rent for a furnished two bedroom apartment: $2,294
  • Business lunch: $17

Influenced by the Caribbean and the thriving Latin-American entertainment industry (Telemundo, Gloria Estefan, Jennifer Lopez), Miami’s style continues to deliver fresh and youthful designs. Each year, Miami Swim Week takes place in July as the city transforms into a catwalk showcasing the latest swimwear trends.

Nashville, Tennessee

Known as ‘Music City, USA’ or ‘Nash Vegas’ for its southern glamour, Nashville is quickly becoming a bonafide American fashion hub. Home to over 150 fashion brands, many of whom are local designers, Nashville Fashion Week spans over five days showcasing the city’s creativity and entrepreneurial spirit. Hollywood transplant, Kirstin Cavallari (Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County) is now a local fashionista and just last year launched her lifestyle brand, Uncommon James.

Nashville, Tennessee
  • Fashion companies: Dockers Footwear, Uncommon James, Imogene + Willie
  • Events: Nashville Fashion Week, Nashville Denim Days, National Fabric Expo
  • Style: Denim, slow fashion, artisanal
  • Average annual salary: $45,780
  • Rent for a furnished two bedroom apartment: $1,604
  • Business lunch: $15

The birthplace of honky-tonk and the center of country music, it’s no surprise that one of the most successful homegrown labels is the popular denim brand Imogene + Willie. In October of this year, the global festival, Denim Days unveiled their first-ever edition in Nashville which was held at Marathon Music Works. The company stated in a press release, “(Nashville Denim Days) celebrates not only denim’s heritage and authenticity but also Nashville’s vibrant music scene.”

Austin, Texas

Taking the crown as the best place to live in America, Austin’s vibrant culture draws around fifty new residents daily according to a report conducted in 2018 by Business Insider. After local founders Tyler Haney of Outdoor Voices and Kendra Scott placed Austin on the nation’s fashion map, the Texan capital has been actively promoting its fashion community by launching incubators and initiatives.

Austin, Texas
  • Fashion companies: Kendra Scott, Rank and Style, Outdoor Voices, Tecovas
  • Events: Austin Fashion Week, South by Southwest (Style & Retail Sessions, Fashion Tech)
  • Style: Athleisure, bohemian, artisanal
  • Average annual salary: $50,830
  • Rent for a furnished two bedroom apartment: $2,002
  • Business lunch: $15

With Louis Vuitton’s recent opening of a new production site in Texas (Alvarado) and the home of department store, Neiman Marcus, the Lone Star State’s importance in the apparel industry is only growing. Coined “Silicon Hills” in the 1990s, its tech industry has been attracting lucrative venture capital investment for years. South by Southwest, Austin Fashion Week are just a few cultural events that bring together the city’s tech, music and fashion juggernauts.

Seattle, Washington

With its damp and windy weather, it’s no wonder Seattleites value comfort and functionality over the latest fashion trends. In its apparel history, the Washington state has given birth to outerwear brands REI and Eddie Bauer. Retail powerhouse, Nordstrom's headquarters can also be found in Seattle accounting for a fraction of the 8.3 billion dollars generated from the garment industry in the Evergreen State reported Economic Development Council of Seattle & King County.

Seattle, Washington
  • Fashion companies: Nordstrom, TomboyX, Tommy Bahama, Garmentory, Evrnu
  • Events: Seattle Fashion Week, NorthWest Trend Show, Metropolitan Fashion Week
  • Style: Eco-friendly, outdoor, casual, style meets functionality
  • Average annual salary: $61,170
  • Rent for a furnished two bedroom apartment: $2,608
  • Business lunch: $15

Since its grunge days, Seattle has attracted tech giants Amazon and Google to the city and as a result creating what seemed like endless wealth. With this came a growing taste for high-end fashion and independent local designers such as Suk Chai and Luly Yang known to tap into Seattle locals’ taste for style meets functionality.

San Francisco, California

Although the fashion industry appears to have arrived later to the tech boom party, it is now indisputably one of the major players. The San Francisco Bay Area has always been a hub for tech innovation so it’s no surprise that the city is now home to more than eleven online clothing startups including industry disruptors Stitch Fix and Everlane. These companies have changed the landscape of fashion e-commerce by making use of data and focusing on personalized solutions.

San Francisco, California
  • Fashion companies: Levi Strauss & Co, Stitch Fix, Allbirds
  • Events: San Francisco Fashion Week, Tech Fashion Week
  • Style: Startup chic, tech, functionality, sustainable
  • Average annual salary: $102,300
  • Rent for a furnished two bedroom apartment: $4,093
  • Business lunch: $17

Well funded startups and the explosion of influencers turned digital media moguls have catapulted fashion as a tech product and attracted the attention of Silicon Valley’s mover and shakers. Already into its tenth year, San Francisco Fashion Week in conjunction with Tech Fashion Week takes place annually to support the growth of fashion and tech in San Francisco.

Portland, Oregon

Hands down one of the most hipster cities in America, Portland’s locals are known for their extremely liberal values, eco-friendly beliefs and the city’s slogan is “Keep Portland Weird.” With an abundance of thrift shops and a local population that holds more academic degrees than the nation’s average, Portland’s style is described as "slow fashion." Impulsive buying is frowned upon as its fashion community largely supports sustainable practices that consist of reducing, reusing and recycling.

Portland, Oregon
  • Fashion companies: Nike, Adidas, Columbia Sportswear
  • Events: Portland Fashion Week, Sustainable Fashion Forum
  • Style: Ethical, eco-friendly, sportswear
  • Average annual salary: $53,960
  • Rent for a furnished two bedroom apartment: $1,943
  • Business lunch: $15

The only carbon negative fashion week in the world, Portland Fashion Week is also the third oldest fashion week in the country. As if that isn’t enough to attract top fashion talent, Nike’s 6,000 employee headquarters is located at Beaverton- just seven miles outside of Portland.

This article was created with information collected from Business Insider, Built In, and Expatistan to promote working in fashion.

Click here to apply for fashion jobs in the US on FashionUnited.

Photos: courtesy of MustangJoe, Domingo Trejo, Kate Baucherel, skeeze, David Mark, David Mark, from Pixabay

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