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Fashion Districts 101: from New York to Naples

It is that exciting time of year again for the next edition of Uomo Moda, the 1st and only menswear magazine in Egypt. Since the Spring Edition has met with such wide acclaim, I thought I would give you a sneak preview to the Summer Edition. The following article is entitled, Fashion Districts 101: from New York to Naples:

In last year’s summer issue, I briefly described the history of fashion in Istanbul, which dates back to the days of the Ottoman Empire. Today, Istanbul has grown into a shopper’s paradise brimming with bazaars, covered markets, and award-winning shopping malls.

Nevertheless, these types of commercial centers differ radically from the three major fashion districts in Istanbul; namely, Merter, Osmanbey, and Laleli, which team with fashion houses, showrooms, and garment manufacturers.

Hence, the question arises: “Just what is the fundamental difference between fashion districts and fashion or shopping centers?

To most individuals, a fashion district denotes some sort of urban shopping destination, consisting of designer boutiques, prestigious labels, and haut couture. But a fashion district is not merely a major souk or commercial quarter but rather a specific kind of industrial district.

Categorized as such, fashion districts can be defined as a conglomeration of companies specializing in textile and garment production within the same geographic area, wherein there exists a measure of interdependence and competition.

As will be seen, fashion districts come in all shapes and sizes, each presenting a different history, infrastructure, network of interrelationships, and current setting.

New York City

One of the most famed fashion districts in the world is the Garment District of New York City, which is situated between Fifth and Ninth Avenues from 34th to 42nd Streets, occupying nearly one square mile.

Also known as the Garment Center and the Fashion Center, New York’s fashion district has played a central role in US textile manufacturing and fashion design since the late 1800’s, at which time the driving force of the local industry was a diversified immigrant population.

By the turn of the 19th century, New York was already out-producing every urban rival. Moreover, the city’s garment industry had surpassed all other industries, becoming a center of fashion that set new trends and ever-changing styles.

Although fabric and accessory shops still abound in the Big Apple, most clothing manufacturers have abandoned the island, leaving New York one of the top fashion capitals in the world. The fashion industry is the second largest industry, as well as home to the headquarters of nearly 1,000 fashion companies.

Generating approximately $10 billion in wages, New York City has emerged as a worldwide destination for upscale shopping districts with numerous flagship stores, such as Puma, Benetton, and Dolce & Gabbana.


London is a city known for fashion streets, particularly menswear streets. While Savile Row is often associated with fine suits, Jermyn Street is synonymous with shirt making and gentleman’s apparel.

Located in Mayfair of Central London, Savile Row is not only renowned for “bespoke tailoring,” but it is also reputed as the birthplace of the term, which denotes ‘custom-made clothing’.

Built between 1731 and 1735, Savile Row began attracting tailors in the 1800’s due to George Bryan “Beau” Brummell, who popularized the modern-day suit and tie into an image called “the dandy.” Beau, the model dandy, was noted for his impeccably fitted apparel.

Located in Westminster of Central London, Jermyn Street dates back to about 1664 and is celebrated for gentleman fashion, particularly fine shirts.


Contrary to much popular opinion, Naples and its surrounding towns have been a main fashion hub in Italy for generations, boasting a vibrant garment production industry since WWII.
In 1999, local artisans passed the baton to CIS di Nola, which has become one of the largest fashion districts in Europe—a showcase of 300 companies that unites nearly 1,000.

At CIS di Nola, one may not find the classy upscale showrooms of Dolce & Gabbana or Valentino but the eight islands brim with numerous local labels like my all-time favorite—Primo Emporio.

Besides onsite sales and distribution, CIS di Nola organizes international road shows, such as the recent “CIS Business Tour for Lebanon”—a business-to-business event that took place 11-14 April 2016.

Photo top right Mark in Istanbul Copyright Men's Fashion by Mark.
Photo top left United Colors of Benetton on 5th Avenue, New York, Copyright Benetton.
Photo bottom right Beau Brummell by Herr uebermann, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
Photo bottom left CIS di Nola Copyright CIS.

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