For a small town, Antwerp has a high proportion of groundbreaking home grown designers, and a handful of great multi brand retail shops. Shopping in Antwerp is truly a pleasure because the city is so small and walkable. Independent shops are everywhere, and emphasis on cool labels, innovative presentations and merchandising, and a willingness to take chances make retail exciting there.
When we visited Antwerp last week, the entire city was in the throes of a designer sample sale with pop up sales emerging all through the city, and handily organized to the public in an easy to use app (can you hotlink?) . We shopped the sales, and hit some of the citys most renowned stores. If youre planning a trip to Antwerp, dont miss these shops:
This tiny boutique is a platform for designers and artists, founded by Belgian menswear designer Jan-Jan Van Essche and Piëtro Celestina. Located in a former solar panel store, Atelier Solarshop offers a curated selection of vintage furniture, artisanal homegoods, and pottery alongside clothing by van Essche and friends.
Antwerps designer footwear headquarters has 2 storesone for men, one for women, and sells luxury footwear from some of the worlds greatest shoe makers including Maison Martin Margiela, Prada, Saint Laurent, Churchs, Dries van Noten, Lanvin and Tabitha Simons. The store first opened its doors in 1984 and gained notoriety for carrying shoes by some of the most notable Belgian designers of that period, including the first collections of Margiela, Dirk Bikkembergs and Ann Demeulemeester.
Schuttershofstraat 8 & 9 A/B
Belgian brand Bellerose has shops all over Belgium. The flagship, in Antwerp serves as a showcase for the brand, and surrounds the brand with likeminded labels and lifestyle products.
Louis was one of the shops to which the world owes the birth of the Antwerp Six in the 1980s. The store where the first-ever collection by Ann Demeulemeester was sold still is where you can buy the cream of Belgian fashion as well as the best of the latest fashion design from all over the world: Martin Margiela, Dirk Van Saene, Veronique Branquinho, Raf Simons, Ann Demeulemeester, Balenciaga and others.
One of Antwerps most beautiful shops, Seven Rooms is a stark white loft featuring seven spaces, each of which serves as the backdrop for different lifestyle categories. A living room sits next to a homey indoor garden. Theres also a library, a kitchen, a bathtub and a walk in closet. Seven rooms carries exclusive designers like Bouchra Jarrar, Petar Petrov, Comme des Garçons; art and design pieces include a chair by Marc Newson, a carpet by Eileen Gray, lamp of David Groppi, furniture of Sixinch.
Seven Rooms also hosts events and exhibitions every third Thursday of the month.
Antwerps home for neo avant garde art and design, Ra recently celebrated its 4th anniversary, and shut down its long-time art filled location on Kloosterstraat. We visited a raw, temporary location located through a courtyard and up the back stairs in a non-descript office building on Kleine Markt. Since opening in 2009, RA Antwerp has stood as a platform of support for directional fashion and emerging artistic talent. RA is known for its selection of new experimental fashion from designers like KTZ, Cedryc de Jacquemyn, James Long and Juun J.
Kleine Markt 7-9
The gigantic multi level location stands out amongst the vintage furniture shops that dot the trendy Kloosterstraat. Your-Shop features a wide range of contemporary clothes, shoes, accessories, knick knacks, eyewear, footwear, gifts, fragrances, cosmetics, and more for men and women. Theres plenty to look at at this shop which has a unique blends of artisanal labels like Folk and Native Youth mixed in with more commercial brands like Edwin and Scotch & Soda. Somehow it all works!