Looking for a fashion fix and in the mood to travel? Fashionistas everywhere will have these five cities on their list of desirable locations – you can’t consider yourself a true fashion lover until you’ve experienced the atmosphere of these on-trend destinations.

1. New York

Soho, Broadway, New York

Image: Soho, New Work by WanderingtheWorld… via Flickr

Start your fashion pilgrimage with the very best that America has to offer – New York (where else?) If you’re really dedicated, head there during Fashion Week, usually the second week in September and the second week in February, when you could bump into total icons like the indomitable Anna Wintour or Diane Von Furstenburg. New York is the first of the ‘Big Four’ fashion weeks.

Take a trip to the Manhattan Garment District – this one-mile square fashion paradise is found in-between Fifth and Ninth Avenue, from 34th to 42nd Street, and is famous for being the absolute best place to go in NYC to find the top designers. You’ll find The Fashion Walk of Fame, art and sculpture, major fashion labels such as Carolina Herrera, Oscar de la Renta, Calvin Klein and Donna Karan, and you can go on walking tours of the district.

2. London

Carnaby Street, London, UK

Image: Carnaby Street (London) by garryknight via Flickr

Europe is the perfect destination if you’re on the lookout for fashion inspiration. Hot on the heels of New York Fashion week follows the Londonextravaganza, so cross the Atlantic, book into a hotel in the capital and indulge your inner Anglophile with fashion with an edge in one of the coolest capitals in the world.

London wasn’t voted the most fashionable capital in the world in 2012 for nothing. Check out the late Alexander McQueen’s famous hangouts, and shop in some of the most up-and-coming designer boutiques in the UK. Head off the beaten track into the Newburgh District, to the east of Carnaby Street, and wander around designer boutiques, edgy stores, and young, hip independents. For a taste of true English eccentricity, Vivienne Westwood’s flagship store is in Conduit Street, and she also has collections on show in Harrods, Selfridges, Liberty and Harvey Nichols – all go-to stores for fashion in the UK capital.

You could also visit the Fashion and Textile Museum, or catch one of the regular fashion shows and exhibitions in the free to visit Victoria and Albert museum, in the heart of the city.

3. Milan

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, shopping mall, Milan, Italy

Image: The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, one of the world’s oldest shopping malls, Milan, Italy – by Taboada Testa via Flickr

Once you’re done with London, your next stop is Milan, if you’re chasing the Fashion Week paparazzi. Italians are well known for their effortless style, and you can see where they get it from in the absolutely awesome fashion district. Milan fashion is usually way ahead of the designs in New York and London, and moves so fast that it’s an absolute treasure house for seconds and designer sales, so make sure you take your credit cards!

Milan’s boutiques are compact, and mostly found in the square known as the Quadrilatero d’Oro or ‘rectangle of gold.’ Here you can browse (or window shop) some of the most famous Italian and international fashion boutiques- Milan is home to the flagship stores of household names like Armani, Krizia, Versace, Missoni and  Moschino, so it’s a fashionista’s dream of a city. Trip advisor has a really useful guide to Milan’s fashion quarter, essential reading if you don’t want to miss any of your favourite designers.

4. Paris

The Eiffel Tower, Paris, France

Image: Galeries Lafayette department store, Paris, France by via Flickr

From Milan, get a further fashion fix when you visit the un-missableParis. Paris Fashion Week is usually the last in the itinerary, at the end of September and February every year, and it brings the runway proceedings to a stylish finale with some of the world’s most heralded designers showing their collections to a sophisticated Parisian audience.

For top-end boutiques and more designer names than you can pronounce, the Faubourg Saint-Honoré district is your first stop. Here, you’ll find the classic glamorous French designers such as Versace, Hermes, and Yves Saint Laurent, alongside up-and-coming concept stores and one-offs that will make you feel as if you’ve discovered a new ‘thing.’

To hang with the Paris in-crowd, take the Metro to St.-Germain-des-Prés, which was once the place that the famous French intellectuals, artists and philosophers hung out – and is now the area where Sonia Rykiel and Paco Rabanne choose to set up their fashionable boutiques.

5. Barcelona

Barcelona, shopping, Spain

Image by travelhyper via Flickr

Barcelona may not have a Fashion Week, but this Spanish city is still considered one of the most influential fashion capitals in the world, and a visit to this beautiful city will leave you in no doubt about why!

Anyone in the know about what’s hot, knows about Barcelona’s Brandery fashion event –- held twice yearly and timed to coincide with the rest of the official Fashion Weeks. You’ll be able to see the best in established and up-and-coming designers, and indulge in retail therapy at the Brandtown and City exhibits.

For shopping, the best place to head for fashion in Barcelona has to be Avinguda Diagonal for international designers such as Calvin Klein, Armani, Versace and Gucci. For something a little bit different, there’s also the Plaça de Sant Josep Oriol – a glamorous shopping district where you’ll be entertained by street musicians, fortune-tellers and painters whilst exploring the designer boutiques and craft shops in the sunshine.

You can take in many of these fashion cities on one of the many European city break tours.

This post was written by Kat Kraetzer, a traveller with a passion for fashion!

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