Has the Paris, Milan and Even the Tokyo Fashion Scenes Lost their Allure?

Paris at Night © DR

I have been a photographer for more time than I wish to say and have worked in Toronto, New York, Los Angeles, Milan, London and Paris. I have experienced the business of fashion in each of these centers and have witnessed their growth, recession, regrowth, recession, etc. I have also been privy to the migrational movement of the major advertising campaigns from major centers like Milan to New York, Paris to London and New York with the slow deterioration of what was once a booming industry in those centers.

Milan the Duomo

These migrational changes that have had an adverse affect on those once vibrant Milanese and Parisian markets is depressing at least and dramatic most certainly. It is my impression that the loss of these markets and their ancillary support systems have had a very grave economic consequence that must be addressed and soon.

London at Night © DR

Most of the major French and Italian Advertising Campaigns are now shot in New York and on occasion in London. I say most, as there are some campaigns that are shot in their native markets, but this is rare. The campaigns that are shot in Paris and Milan are of lesser consequence or when the ambiance of those places are part of the creative concept and even when that is the case, most of the imagery is shot in New York and landmarks like the Eiffel Tower or Arc de Triomphe are added in post-production. This fact is just one example of how the fashion industry and landscape has changed in Paris. Budgets are being slashed to the extreme and in order to keep the top models in the major centers, it will take a much greater initiative than what is on offer presently. In most cases there is no reason for the models from the Top 50 models.com listings to live in Paris or Milan, as the work load is not nearly as important as that of New York. Another important consideration, is that the taxes for models in France and Italy are astronomical, thus another reason they avoid Paris and Milan like the plague. The governments need to reassess the taxation codes for models working in their respective countries, regardless of their origin.

Statue of Liberty New York

Many fashion photographers based in Milan and Paris have started to migrate to London, New York and even Berlin and Hong Kong in search of more vibrant markets. The reality is rather stark at this time and until the French and Italian markets start to take care of those residing in their territory the scene will dramatically change for the worse. Everyone from Model agencies to Press agencies to studios to magazines should do their best to promote the territories that they are responsible for. International shoots are a norm of course, especially during the collections and are an important part of the landscape. But ad campaigns of products produced in host countries should consider producing them there when ever possible.

Tokyo Japan

I know that this short essay sounds rather naive and the solutions idyllic, but to see vibrant creative centers like Milan and Paris losing their esteem as major players, is of great concern to me. It has been a long time since a French Designer has headed up a major French Couture House and that in it’s own right is very telling. Of course their are exceptions to the rule, but I can count those on one hand.

I could go on ad infinitum, but would prefer to get your feedback regarding this subject. Perhaps sharing with us your own perceptions of your own markets.

About Benjamin Kanarek
Fashion and Beauty Photographer. Some of the magazines I have shot for include: VOGUE (China, Portugal, Brazil, Italia, Paris and South America & Mexico editions), RG VOGUE Brazil, Harper’s BAZAAR (China, en Español & Latin America, Hong Kong, Italy editions), L’Officiel Paris, ELLE (Spain, Portugal and Greece editions), Madame Figaro (France), Cosmopolitan (France and Italy editions), Glamour (France), Votre Beauté, Jardin des Modes, Dépêche Mode, New York Daily News, Fashion District News, New York Times Magazine, W (British edition), WWD, Fashion Magazine (Canada), Flare (Canada), Oyster, Tank, WestEast…