Monday, August 13, 2007

Talking the talk: Sydney and Melbourne gasbag their way into top world fashion rankings

Many maintain that Australians have little interest in fashion. Just last year AC Nielsen purported that we think designer brands are a load of bunkum. But now, as Media Monitors tallies the media impact of last week’s store wars for its clients David Jones and Myer, comes news that Sydney and Melbourne have just both ranked in the top 15 of the inaugural Top Fashion Capitals list.

A San Diego-based not-for-profit, Global Language Monitor tracks and analyses words and phrases across global media. Founded in 2003 by word analyst Paul JJ Payack, it deploys 100s of “Language Police”, as well as a proprietary algorithm called the Predictive Quantities Indicator which trawls print and electronic media, as well as the blogosphere, taking into account long-term trends and short-term changes. Payack, aka the “WordMan”, frequently pops up in the mainstream media as expert buzzword talent.

For the past four years GLM has been monitoring fashion capitals. This is the first year it has published its findings and Sydney is ranked the world number 12 on the Top Fashion Capitals 2007 list behind New York, Rome, Paris, London, Milan, Tokyo, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Las Vegas, Singapore and Berlin. Melbourne is ranked 15.

If you’re as perplexed as Fully Chic on, at the very least, the Las Vegas front, it’s worth remembering that Vegas is experiencing a mini fashion retail boom. It’s also a vibrant American trade show hub.

See below for the complete list. One wonders if the line “Gold Coast is golden for fashion” next to Melbourne is a mistake – or whether the PQI is in need of recalibration in favour of Brisbane.

But with the spring/summer showcase of Australian Fashion Week regularly experiencing significant year-on-year media growth according to Media Monitors – and Melbourne boasting not only AFW’s autumn/winter showcase, but the Melbourne Fashion Festival, the Spring Fashion Festival and the fashion-heavy Spring Racing Carnival – clearly all that coverage adds up.

According to GLM New York displaced Paris as the world fashion capital four years ago.

While many might dispute this, in pure media coverage terms, Fully Chic has its suspicions that this has a great deal to do with the 2001 acquisition of 7th on Sixth, New York’s centralized Fashion Week, by the world’s largest sports/lifestyle marketing company, IMG – and the subsequent media explosion that that event has experienced.

Also of note, IMG now operates major fashion events in eight of the 25 cities on the list. Yes, including AFW. Sydney and Melbourne first popped onto GLM’s radar three years ago and have steadily risen. According to Payack, Sydney enjoyed a 150 per cent spike in citations in the past seven months and, Melbourne a 250 per cent spike – although from a much lower base – so they may rise higher still.

Payack is adamant that GLM’s opinion cannot be bought – “It’s all to do with mathematics”, he told Fully Chic.

But can the same be said for the media outlets from which GLM gleans its data? Last month one Australian newspaper ran a large page three story about IMG’s new Berlin Fashion Week, without disclosing the trip was a junket.

“Could they rig it?” mused Payack, of aspiring fashion capitals, before conceding,"If let’s say Budapest wanted to be ranked, they’d have to spend at least $100 million to get there”.

1. New York—Far and away No.1 by every index
2. Rome—Beats out Paris, London and Milan
3. Paris—Heartbeat of the fashion world
4. London—Pulsing with creative energy
5. Milan—Perennial contender for No.1
6. Tokyo—Gaining global influence
7. Los Angeles—Will Posh Spice impact Ranking?
8. Hong Kong—No.1 in South Asia
9. Las Vegas—Emerging as vibrant fashion center
10. Singapore—Strong regional hub
11. Berlin—Big fashion push & its working
12. Sydney—Oz scores two in the Top 20
13. Barcelona—Regional center grows in stature
14. Shanghai—China breaks into the Big Time
15. Melbourne—Gold Coast is golden for fashion
16. Moscow—Lenin would not be amused
17. Bangkok—Realising its dream
18. Mumbai—Indian fashion influences globe
19. Santiago—Major strides for a proud nation
20. Rio de Janeiro—More than Carnivale and Ipanema
21. Sao Paolo—Money and fashion DO mix
22. Buenos Aires—Seat of Classic Beauty returns
23. Johannesburg—A first for Africa
24. Dubai Dubai?—Yes, Dubai,
25. Krakow—Neo-Bohemia thrives

- source: GLM

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