Fashion Island in Newport Beach has been tremendously important to Orange County. When FI opened in 1967, Orange County advanced to the highest level of retail shopping, along with Beverly Hills
The Orange County shopper no longer had to travel to Los Angeles or Beverly Hills for the finest retail clothing and for some of the finest restaurants. Around the same time, Newport Beach and Irvine came of age as a major international financial, computer and business computer center. As recently as the 1950s, Orange County had been classified as rural, and by the 1980s, became metropolitan. We may remember Newport as a sleepy little beach town in the 1950s, but those days are long gone and, apart from us, largely forgotten.