Fashion and music. They’ve always gone together like blue jeans and Springsteen. Like sparkly gloves and Michael. Like pointy bras and Madonna. But the best relationships go way deeper than all that. For the world’s most vibrant, exciting and essential cities, there’s a real, visceral, symbiotic connection. Simply, the two are locked in a bond that – like all good relationships – brings out the best in each other. And where next year’s catwalk starts in this year’s coolest music venue. Take these five musically sharp-dressed cities for starters…



Tassels, trims, bangles and beads. Yep, Nashville definitely has a look. And in this leading music centre, musicians and fashion have long been deeply connected. Social commentator Brian Hracs puts it this way:  “In the highly competitive marketing landscape, fashion designers need to develop creative ways to get their brands and products noticed, and this intensifies the need for indie fashion designers to collaborate with musicians.” That’s why, of all US cities, Nashville really punches above its weight in the fashion stakes. And this country-tinged city is often the birth place for fashion with a distinctly southern state of mind.  Think breezy, bo-ho, feminine and a touch of hippy chic and you’re ready to rock. Well, strum.

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How do you compete with Tokyo’s world-dominating style chops? Simple, you ramp things up to 11. See Korea’s ever-so-complex 11-step skin-cleaning phenomenon, for example. Or the poppier-than-pop sugar rush of its K-Pop superstars. And here’s where Seoul’s fashion-scene looks for its ramped up inspiration. So addictive is this music/pop crossover, the genre sports its share of cosplayers – fans who dress up exactly like their favourite teen superstar band members. But current darling on the Seoul fashion scene, Juun J, takes the country’s addiction with all things fresh and young, and adds a grown-up twist, to present street style with a flamboyant and provocative edge, with oversized coats and off-kilter silhouettes. See also D Gnak’s preppy menswear and the sports-luxe stylings of WOOYOUNGMI.


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On the surface, fashion in the Russian Federation’s capital is all ultra-luxe big-name usual suspects – Prada, Chanel, Givency – but scratch beneath the surface and Moscow is alive with the counterculture, the street-style and the alternative. And nowhere is this more apparent than the city’s steampunk and skater subcultures, where the glitz and glamour of the oligarchs seems a revolution away. The sound, and the look, of the ‘bad boys of the suburbs’ (the phrase used by Russian Vogue) is epitomised by Gosha Rubchinskiy, the alt. scene’s poster boy. The Russian designer favours slogan-emblazoned tees, utility jackets, high-waisted jeans with shoelaces for studs. And Moscow’s underground skateboarding and music scenes love him. The streetwear-focussed collections can be seen sported in the city’s cooler clubs, and on the city’s coolest punk stars.

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A new wave of hip hop tastemakers have taken the fashion world by the logo-emblazoned scruff of the neck, and continued to blur the lines between high fashion and streetwear.  Lyrics, as ever, are ripe with brand names like Balenciaga, Fendi and Gucci. And they’re still emerging from the hip-hop capitals of the US – but is while most hip hop artists are attracted to the legendary Italian wear like suits, fedoras, jewelry and luxe materials, they’re still coming from the projects and the edgier corners of cities like Atlanta. One of the biggest hip-hop capitals of the world, it’s home to tastemakers such as Young Jeezy, Ludacris and Gucci Mane – and, of course, the supreme fashion-forward duo that is Outkast. Atlanta’s vast underground scene is where you’ll see the freshest sportswear, and feel the tastiest hip-hop beats.  

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Scandinavia – that byword for clipped, restrained elegance and music so precise and perfect it could have been written by machine algorithms. Scandinavia’s designers favour what’s known as ‘democratic fashion’, pieces that are as wearable as they are affordable. Copenhagen’s underground electronic music scene is where you’ll plug in to the beat of this contradictory city: and here you’ll see the beanies, tattoos, hoodies and the relaxed and refined look of artists (like DJ of the moment, Hunee) and punters at events such as Komponent and Mayhem. Outlandish flourishes are reigned in, in favour of subtle pops of colour (sometimes, it’s the tattoos that provide the greatest palette!). Black, or possibly khaki, is the new black for local heroes Norse Projects, or the ruthlessly restrained Han Kjobenhavn.

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