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Antwerp - Capital of Fashion

Surprisingly, most Belgian designers remain in their homeland instead of migrating to bigger fashion capitals. No wonder some of the best boutiques around the world can be found in this Flanders city. For those who haven't set foot in the fashionable city of Antwerp, here are afew of the places worth including to your shopping itinerary.

Antwerp - Capital of Fashion

If you live and breathe fashion, then, I'm sure you know that Antwerp is synonymous to avantgarde fashion. Hailed as the new fashion capital of Europe, the Flemisch city is home to some of the most prolific fashion designers of our time. Antwerp's phenomenal status in fashion is highly attributed to the strong impact of the so-called Antwerp Six. This influential fashion collective includes Dirk Bikkembergs, Ann Demeulemeester, Walter Van Beirendonck, Dries Van Noten, Dirk Van Saene and Marina Yee. All graduated from the prestigious Royal Academy of Fine under the mentorship of Linda Loppa. Martin Margiela, another Belgian designer, was never a part of the group but remains to be the most successful avant-garde designer from Belgium. In the early 80s, the group collectively staged a series of fashion shows and events. In 1988, they finally sparked interest from international buyers and press alike when they inventively presented their distinct and unique collections during London Fashion Week. Since then, the Antwerp Six phenomenon paved the way for a new crop of talented fashion designers in the 90s such as Raf Simons, Veronique Branquinho, A.F. Vandevorst, Bruno Pieters, Haider Ackermann, Christian Wijnants and Kris Van Assche. For many in the fashion world, Antwerp has become a hub for discovering promising talent with innovative style and vision. Each year fashion buyers and fashion critics flock the Royal Academy's fashion department's graduation show in search of the next Margiela or Dries Van Noten.




Surprisingly, most Belgian designers even the most successful ones, remain in their homeland instead of migrating to bigger fashion capitals. No wonder some of the best boutiques around the world can be found in this Flanders city. Apart from all the designer flagship stores, Antwerp also has several vintage and consignment boutiques for the budget-conscious. Conceptual and lifestyle boutiques like Ra stocked with indie labels and funky art installations are becoming quite popular too. Having said that I am certain that you will find whatever you are looking for in Antwerp based on my experience. For those who haven't set foot in the fashionable city of Antwerp, here are a few of the places worth including to your shopping itinerary.  


Leopold de Waelplaats
2000 Antwerp, Belgium
Ann Demeulemeester's first ever free-standing boutique can be found in Antwerp across the Museum of Fine Arts. The minimalistic-white two-story boutique houses Ann Demeulemeester's complete his and hers collections. According to the sales associates, Ann once in a while swings by the store. So make sure to give her my warm regards in case you bump into her. 




Godefriduskaai 36
2000 Antwerp, Belgium
Dries Van Noten is undoubtedly one of the most successful designer from Belgium and one of the most recognizable figures in the fashion industry today. His huge centrally-located flagship store carries both his women's and men's lines. A fashion field is definitely incomplete without a visit to one of the original members of the Antwerp Six. 


Sint-Antoniusstraat 12
2000 Antwerp, Belgium
If you are looking for a unique shopping experience, then make sure to swing by acclaimed Walter Van Beirendonck's lifestyle boutique. With its tasteful interiors and jaw-dropping art installations, going to Walter is like visiting a museum. Aside from Walter Van Beirendonck's own collections, the massive space also carries some of the hottest names in fashion like the British duo Eley Kishimoto, German designer Bernhard Willhelm, fellow Antwerp Six alum Dirk Van Saene, Belgian designer Christian Wijnants and more. Definitely a must for all fashion tourists! 




Reynderstraat 53
2000 Antwerp, Belgium
Centrally located downtown with a barely visible name on the glass it is almost impossible to find the Stephan Schneider Flagship store if you're just aimlessly walking around Antwerp. Thanks to Google Maps for leading me to the right path or else I would had not found it. Both Schneider's minimalist men's and women's RTW lines can be found at this store. 


Kloosterstraat 13
2000 Antwerp, Belgium
RA rivals some of the best concept stores out there by combining kick-ass fashion, tasty food, catchy music, good reads, funky art and excellent service in one rad interactive space. Founded by Romain Brau and Anna Kushnerova, RA aims to support independent fashion designers and struggling artists. Presently, RA stocks established designers like Henrik Vibskov, Damir Doma, Juun.J, Cosmic Wonder Light Source and Givenchy as well as obscure and up and coming brands like Austrian designer Ute Ploier, Berlin-based Butterfly soulfire, British label James Long and Belgian designer Jan-Jan Van Essche. RA is also popular for their occasional parties packed with interesting and fashionable characters. 




Nationalestraat 91-95
2000 Antwerp, Belgium
There's no doubt that half of the most fashionable ladies in Antwerp shop at Sien. The lovely owner of this store was a total sweetheart. She gave me the directions on how to get to the Walterstore. Sien carries several of my favorite womenswear designers like Cathy Pill, Christian Wijnants, Hussein Chalayan, Sandra Backlund and Sophia Kokosalaki. They also have a great selection of PS1 handbags! 


Rosier 41
2000 Antwerp, Belgium
If you are looking for quality clothes without the hefty price tag then Rosier 41 is the perfect place for you.
Curated by owner Viviane Van Werelyckhuysen, Rosier 41 is a consignment boutique specializing on new and pre-loved pieces by celebrated Belgian labels such as Raf Simons, Martin Margiela, Ann Demeulemeester, Walter Van Beirendonck, Dries Van Noten, Haider Ackerman, Dirk Bikkembergs, Veronique Branquinho, AF Vandevorst, Bruno Pieters to name a few as well as international labels like Comme Des Garcons, Yohji Yamamoto, Balenciaga and Givenchy. Rosier 41 supports local designers and artists by displaying their works throughout the boutique. Word of advice to the shopping impaired-do not hesitate to seekfashion advice from Viviane and her staff. Believe me these guys areheaven-sent! 


Aalmoezenierstraat 4
2000 Antwerp, Belgium
Labels Inc is another consignment boutique in Antwerp worth checking out. You can find pieces from your favorite Belgian designers at a fraction of its original price. They oftentimes feature different designers and offer sample pieces from their previous collections.

19 / 06 / 2012 // by JP Singson


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