Fashion Capital: New York

Topics: New York City, Fashion, Milan Pages: 7 (2646 words) Published: May 2, 2013
Semiotics presumes that visual images and their associated signs can be read in the same manner as a text. In the same way, fashion and body beautification have their own language and can be read as explanation of a person’s character as well as personality. Cultural semiotics makes up a significant element of visual rhetoric because of the fact that it can turn simple signs and codes into actual conversations. Every individual possesses unique personality, opinions, and set of beliefs. Moreover, to express identity people use the body as a canvas for projection. According to Elizabeth Wilson: In all societies the body is ‘dressed’ and everywhere dress and beautification play symbolic, communicative and artistic roles. Dress is always ‘unspeakably meaningful.’ The earliest forms of ‘clothing’ seem to have been beautifications such as body painting, ornaments, scarifications (scarring), tattooing, masks and often constricting neck and waist bands. Many of these deformed, reformed or otherwise modified the body. (Rampley 68) According to Bennett (96), “fashion provides one of the most ready ways through which individuals can make expressive visual statements about their identities.” From this perspective, it is reasonable to suggest that fashion has a very important role in the society. Thus, understanding various aspects of fashion is also of utmost importance. It is from this point of view that this paper discusses the importance of New York as a fashion city. A fashion capital is a city that has major influence on the global fashion trends as well as the core of the fashion industry, where activities such as designing, production and retailing of fashion items, events like fashion week and fashion awards as well as other fashion-related activities gain important economic output. Such cities normally have a wide range of financial, business, cultural, and entertainment activities globally recognized for their strong and exceptional identity. According to Buckley and Clark (2012) there are four main cities that are universally accepted as fashion cities in the world. These cities, also known as the “big four” are London, New York, Milan and Paris. This paper focuses on the New York City. New York City was established in the beginning of the 1600s as ‘New Amsterdam’. It was among the first settlements for the European settlers in the New World. From that time, the town has been changing one of the trends being a major port for immigrants. As a matter of fact, over 12 million immigrants came through Ellis Island in New York from 1892 up to 1954. The city has a major influence in the politics and culture of the United States. It operated as the breeding ground for anti-British movement prior to the American Revolution, and came to be the first capital of the newly established nation under the United States Constitution Majority of the writers of the American history notes that Black Tuesday in New York was the beginning of the Great Depression in 1929. The stock exchange share prices in the city almost collapsed on that day, leading to a decade-long economic depression in the whole nation and ultimately, majority of the western economies’ industrialized world. Following the World War II, the city came to be the headquarters for the United Nations (UN). This became the home for about 200 foreign diplomats and often draws foreign heads of state. There are various other activities in the city that made it a leader in the economic, political and cultural aspects of the country, and a major influence in the rest of the world. One of these is the fact that it is one of the fashion cities in the world (Bloomberg 115). History has seen the intertwining of fashion and political power, and this has been evident since the classical era. This is the period when the main political powers like Athens, Alexandria and Rome were leading in their periods in relation to fashion or clothing. Various cities have in the past emerged as fashion...
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