From Berlin to Valencia: Five emerging European fashion centers

white concrete cross statue near white concrete building during daytime

The Champs-Elysees and Eiffel Tower are two of the most common images that come to mind when one thinks about Paris as the fashion capital of Europe. Paris is known for its haute couture heritage and shares this title with London’s Big Ben. London is a hub for fashion creativity, while Milan is famed for its exquisite fashion craftsmanship. These fashion centers have been challenged by a few cities in Europe over the last few years. These cities are competing for the title of next major fashion hub. They attract new talent and positively disrupt the industry with their innovations. These cities are also attracting more ethical and luxury companies, as well as retailers, who want to make their mark on the world. We share five European cities that are making waves in the fashion industry. These could be the next big fashion destination.

aerial view of buildings during daytime

Berlin, Germany

Berlin is a modest fashion capital. However, the lack of a history in fashion has led to a low valuation. Berlin was the first European city to receive the title ‘City of Design’ from UNESCO. It is home to some 3.100 businesses and approximately 25.400 people working in the fashion industry. Berlin fashion is known for its unique, stylish, tailored and unpredictable sense of street style. It also has creativity and individualism. Berlin Fashion Week now includes dedicated sustainable fashion, technology, graduate shows, and exhibitions.

Berlin is attempting to be the greenest fashion center by setting up a green fashion hub for 2020 in order to promote sustainable fashion. It’s not surprising that Berlin has seen several top ethical labels emerge, such as HUNDHUND and Philomena Zanetti. Rocket Internet, one of the most prominent fashion funders, created Zalando, an e-tailer that has become an e-com mega-giant in Berlin in 2008. Other successful etailers, such as Outfittery, have attracted international attention over time. They generated close to 8 billion euro in revenue in 2020.


  • Fashion companies: Gmbh. Zalando, Liebeskind, Ivy & Oak, Outfittery
  • Events: Berlin Fashion Week
  • Style: Individual, cool, creative, and structured
  • Average Montly Net Salary 2642,29 Euro
  • Average Rent for a 1-bedroom Apartment: 814.58 Euro
  • Business Lunch for 2: 50 Euro

Marseille, France

Marseille was the first European city to import fabrics from Great Indies. It also used to be the capital of French denim. This port city, affectionately called the “Old Lady of the Mediterranean”, has been trading textiles and fashion products since the 16th Century. Rue Paradis and Rue Grignan are the main avenues for luxury in Marseille. They feature the likes Louis Vuitton and Hermes as well as Emporio Armani and Chopard. Marseille is quietly reinventing itself as a hub of creativity and emerging talent.

It is the birthplace of brands such as American Vintage, Kulte and La Nouvelle. The city also supports an increasing number of local designers. The Colette of Marseille is said to be one of the most well-known concept stores, Jogging. It hosts temporary exhibitions of young fashion talent and a pop up restaurant every summer. Simon Porte Jacquemus’ debut book of art, ‘Marseille Je T’aime’, was inspired by the city. The launch was co-organized by 15 artists who shared their interpretations on the culture and essence of the city. It coincided with an array of exhibitions as well as a fashion show during OpenMyMed 2017, a festival organized by Maison Mode Mediterranee.


  • Fashion Companies: American Vintage, Sessun, Kulte, La Nouvelle
  • Open: MyMed Events
  • Style: Modern, sophisticated, bohemian and elegant
  • Average Monthly Net Salary: 2261.75 Euro
  • Average Rent for a 1-bedroom Apartment: 561,94 Euro
  • Business Lunch for 2: 60 Euro

Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Rotterdam is a vibrant and multicultural port that trades in many cultures. It’s known for its laid-back, yet modern street fashion sense. This city is home to 53 fashion brands. Made in RTTRDM offers fashion products made in the city. The city is an emerging fashion hub and has invested in various initiatives, such as De Wasserij which is an incubator for stylists, photographers, and students, and Getting Closer Fashion Festival, which is designed to bring fashion lovers closer to their designers.


  • Fashion companies: NAN, Ruby Lee, Susan Bijl, Joline Jolink
  • Events: Getting Closer Fashion Festival and Dutch Sustainable Fashion Week
  • Style: Down-to-earth, contemporary, sustainable street-style
  • Average Montly Net Salary: 2.816.7 euro
  • Average Rent for a 1-bedroom Apartment: 1.047.62 Euro
  • Business Lunch for 2: 60 Euro

Their effortlessly cool, ethical designs are a perfect fit for Rotterdam’s down-to-earth style and taste. SwapShop is another initiative that allows consumers to swap clothes and participate in events such as the Dutch Sustainable Fashion Week. House of Afangaro and other brands are planning to host annual events such as ‘Made in Rotterdam’, a fashion week.

Valencia, Spain

white concrete cross statue near white concrete building during daytime

Valencia’s vibrant arts and design scene is a source of creative energy. You will find a variety of boutiques offering everything from high-end, luxury fashion to boho chic, to local designers to second-hand thrift shops. Two of Valencia’s most recognizable designers, Alex Vidal and Francis Montesinos, are both international brands such as Loewe and Carolina Herrera. They draw inspiration from their heritage and traditional costumes.


  • Fashion Companies: Francis Montesinos and Alex Vidal, The Nude Label, Vacant, Sepiia
  • Events: Clec Fashion Festival and FIMI Fashion Show, Beauty Valencia
  • Style: Boho, colourful, traditional
  • Average Montly Net Salary: 1400 Euro
  • Average Rent for a 1-bedroom Apartment: 600 Euro
  • Business Lunch for 2: 40 Euro

Valencia is a center for handicrafts, artisans and emerging designers. It’s also a hotspot to find haute couture and evening wear. Tonuca, Noelia Navarr and Higinio Mateu are some of the most prominent local designers. Their designs have been seen on runways across France and Spain. The Clec Fashion Festival is a new event that sees city’s top chefs work with fashion designers to fill the gap left behind by fashion week.

Zurich, Switzerland

It is a paradise for multinational companies, including fashion. Many fashion corporations have moved their headquarters to Zurich because of its favorable tax system. Prada, Zegna and Hugo Boss are just a few of the top luxury brands that have established supply or administrative hubs in Switzerland. This is due to its tax regulations and location. Richemont is one of the largest luxury conglomerates. There is more to Switzerland or Zurich than just taxes.


  • Fashion Companies: Freitag, On, Bally, Vetements
  • Events: Mode Suisse, Kreislauf 345
  • Style: Conservative, minimal, casual
  • Average Montly Net Salary: 6300 Euro
  • Average Rent for a 1-bedroom Apartment: 1.587 Euro
  • Business Lunch for 2: 110 Euro

Zurich has been consistently ranked among the top countries for innovation. It is home to many start-ups, digital investment firms, and consultancies such as Loomish who launched Fashion Innovation Week 2018. Other institutions like the STF provide workspace for fashion professionals and textile start-ups. It has also fostered a vibrant fashion, creative, and design scene that is open to international influences. Highsnobiety, a Berlin streetwear magazine, will open a pop-up luxury store at Zurich Airport in November to promote innovation in luxury fashion.

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