A little over a week ago, the Wall Street Journal published a piece about how Los Angeles was changing the way men dress. While an interesting theory was presented, it's hard to take it seriously. As I sit here on the opening morning of NYC's second Men's only Fashion Week, I can't really identify any noticeable ways in which my personal fashion or menswear in general is being largely influenced by what's happening on the West Coast. Perhaps the men of LA have finally made the decision to step things up a notch and ditch the whole deconstructed, unbothered, lazy look in favor of straight leg jeans and layers. But a shift in LA's culture isn't indicative of what's going on with menswear in the rest of the country. And it by no means cancels out what's happening in New York. Now, if someone wants to argue that Paris, London, or Milan are starting to become more important metropolises for men's fashion, they may have my attention. But LA? Please. New York is still the most important epicenter of men's fashion in the US. Here's why:
1. We have an actual avenue named after fashion.
See that photo above. There's no bigger indication that New York is an epicenter of fashion than the fact that an entire avenue is dedicated to it. The strip of 7th avenue that runs through the middle of Manhattan is home to FIT (one of the most renowned fashion schools in America) and dozens upon dozens of major fashion company corporate offices.
2. The garment district is located here...for the entire industry.
Let's be real. In the US, most new designers are either New York-based or fight tooth and nail to get to New York. The city's garment district is home to the factories and dedicated workers that bring designs to life for up and coming and established designers alike. And real estate pricing controversies aside, this is still one of the most important, if not the most important, neighborhoods in fashion.
3. We have a separate Fashion Week just for men.
LA is still a city that's trying to find a bigger audience for its own general Fashion Week. There isn't enough interest, infrastructure, or development in the West Coast fashion scene to justify a separate week for men. While New York is only in its second season of a men's only week, it's a week that's gaining momentum and dominates men's fashion headlines without a doubt.
4. The street style alone is enough to find new inspiration.
New York is one of few American cities where men can really embrace any style and truly express themselves. Whether you're a dapper dude or a streetwear enthusiast, the streets are full of well dressed men for you to choose as your muse. No offense to Cali as surf culture definitely has its own clear aesthetic. But LA doesn't hold a candle to the polish, risk, and edge of New York's best dressed men.
5. Most of the designer menswear coverage is about designers from...you guessed it.
In a Google search, you'd be hard pressed to find a lot of articles detailing the best new LA designers in menswear. Sure, there are some big menswear designers that are either hosting major fashion shows in LA or deciding to call LA home base. But the industry lives in the Big Apple. Showing or designing a collection in Los Angeles is a hipster move. But by far, the whole industry knows that NY is home.
6. New York is a menswear enthusiast's shopping dream come true.
From thrift stores to the small boutiques of Brooklyn to the mega flagships of 5th Avenue, this city has an endless supply of places to reup on the latest menswear releases. Sure, LA has a burgeoning men's boutique scene that's gaining some national attention. But New York is men's fashion shopping on steroids. People literally come here just to shop. Need I say more?
7. The Big Apple is a melting pot of the world's style.
The New York city streets are like a greatest hits collection of men's style. Influenced by the cities that many NY residents formally called home, we've got international style sprinkled with New York edge. And there's nowhere else like it without a doubt.
8. NYC is ground zero for the menswear blog scene.
The menswear blog scene is becoming arguably crowded. But even if he's not based in New York, the essential menswear blogger is making the journey to NYC to cover Fashion Week. NY bloggers aren't making the journey out west for LA Fashion Week. I think it's clear where their loyalty lies. And it's also clear where the most action is happening in menswear.
9. The most important menswear publications are based here.
That's right. GQ, Esquire, the dearly departed Details. The most notable menswear magazines are based here in NYC, and even our newspapers like The New York Times and the aforementioned Wall Street Journal are including major pieces on men's fashion. These are publications distributed throughout the nation and around the world. But I can't recall those LA-based menswear reads that are circulating here...
10. This is the heart of the US fashion industry, period.
Where you find fashion, there's menswear. And New York not only serves as a hotbed for the developing menswear scene but also as the most important American city for fashion in general regardless of gender specialty. New York is fashion's home. The freedom, the attitude, and the all around liberal progression will always exist here and allow fashion to continue blossoming and existing in its natural form. New York=fashion. There's really no debate.