Villa-Vogue: The Battle of America’s Fashion Capitals


Courtesy of Kaelin Trombly

Trombly and friend show off their east coast style.

Kaelin Trombly, Staff Writer

The United States of America, from its spacious skies and amber waves of grain, is more vast of a country than what meets the eye. While all states remain under the big large umbrella we call patriotism, the stereotypical east coast-west coast juxtaposition prevails. Don’t believe me? Ask Tupac and Biggie Smalls.

The cultural differences between the east and west coast are like night and day, the headliners of the clash being New York City and Los Angeles. Are you “California Dreaming” or in an “Empire State of Mind?” The big orange or The Big Apple? Whether in terms of music or food, climate or lifestyle, the two major U.S city’s contrasts carry on, with one major difference being the fashion industry itself.

There is an important relation between social location and sociological perspective. It is inevitable that the environment you are in will influence your behavior. As culture and location play a large role in human development, it leaves a footprint on personal style too. I’m not saying that every person living in a specific area is going to dress exactly the same, but patterns of style similarity are much more common.

That being said, let’s compare the City of Angels to its eastern counterpart. California is stereotypically viewed as a laid-back and effortless state, where residents only know how to surf and eat In-N-Out Burger. While this is certainly not the case, the global reputation of a SoCal lifestyle has definitely led to a SoCal style unique to the West Coast. The unforgiving LA sun allows for the prioritization of a healthy lifestyle, making athleisure a closet staple. There is no need to become a vegan yoga enthusiast to be fashionable in Los Angeles, as long as comfort is a priority.

However, In New York City, life moves fast. There are taxis to be hailed, subways to ride and bills to pay. Along with a busy lifestyle that consists of running from meeting to meeting, the New Yorkers’ style focuses more on making good impressions rather than leisure. Black and monotone tones are the unofficial New York City uniforms in order to complete the chic, put-together style every east coaster strives for.

Along with differences in style comes major differences within the business side of the fashion industry. While the streets of NYC consist of global fashion headquarters and publishing houses, LA is home to homegrown manufacturers and emerging designers.

Often referred to as the “window to the world” the east coast fashion industry is highly established. Home of New York Fashion Week and over 900 fashion business headquarters, the east coast is a goldmine for high fashion enthusiasts and those wanting to make strides in their fashion careers.

Just like their style, the west coast takes a more laid back approach when it comes to the industry. Rather than housing big name fashion companies, Los Angeles focuses more on start up brands who manufacture their products within the state. While NYFW runways are crowded with Zimmermann and Telfar, Los Angeles Fashion Week serves as a platform for emerging designers.

While the two cities certainly contrast, it is important to keep in mind that the Los Angeles and New York City style references are nothing more than a generalization. The mere stereotypes that have been curated over the years add fuel fanning the west coast versus east coast fire, and while this is no 1990 hip-hop rivalry, the battle between America’s Fashion Capitals prevails from coast to coast.