Monica Ho blogs under the name Monica Harmony. She was born and raised in Belgium and is a big fan of fashion and Belgian designers. She is inspired by street style, inspiring others with her own unique style. And now she shares her list of favourite Antwerp hotspots with shopping addicts.
Besides several established Belgian designers, Antwerp also has shops that sell unique collections, shops of young designers, concept stores and vintage shops. While everyone knows the main shopping drag, which is called Meir, Steenhouwervest and Nationalestraat are gradually emerging as the new places to shop while Kammenstraat is working on a revival.
Antwerp has a holy trinity of second-hand shops that are famous for selling the collections of Belgian designers. Rosier 41 is one of them, selling high-end brands at affordable prices, off Kammenstraat. The shop sell pre-loved clothes by Belgian designers such as Dries Van Noten and Martin Margiela as well as international brands including Jil Sander, Dior and Balenciaga. What makes Rosier 41 even more unique though, is the fact that they also stock brand-new clothes, straight from the showroom of famous designers. Don’t forget to take a look at their window displays which often feature the designs of young designers or graduates of Antwerp’s fashion academy.
You’ll definitely know Arte if you have a keen eye for young designers. Bertony Da Silva was inspired by Antwerp to launch this label, with its cross-over collections that combine fashion with graphic design and visual arts. The fashion brand is gradually morphing into a creative powerhouse, with its signature style of artful simplicity. With prices ranging from €85 to €250, you can support this young designer without breaking the bank.
Vier sells clothes that command street cred. Head to this fun shop with its pink walls clad with camo nets for an eclectic selection of catwalk designers and streetstyle brands. In addition to high-end designer brands such as Raf Simons and Prada, Vier also stocks more affordable brands such as Vans and Nike. The owners Bob and Giancarlo also design their own collection, VIER Antwerp, which is worn by locals but also has fans as far as Japan and the United States. Raf Simons also likes to shop here, and even collaborated on a collection with Vier called Homecoming King. A must visit!
If you’re looking to score some unique vintage items, then Jutka & Riska is the place for you. The two Dutch sisters clearly love retro fashion, as you can tell by their shop in Nationalestraat. They have organised everything in their store by colour, making your life easier and also creating some sense of order. You can often also find more expensive items by famous designers here. Don’t forget to check out their accessories before leaving!
A second shop that is also famous for its pre-loved Belgian designer fashions is Labels Inc. For over ten years, this has been the place to go for anyone looking for affordable and recent designer clothes. Labels Inc. recently moved to larger premises. Everything on the racks and shelves is in mint condition. The place to go to pick up something by Belgian and international designers such as Ann Demeulemeester, Raf Simons, Yamamoto or Comme des Garçons!
Like the other two second-hand shops, Vrijdagmarkt 6 has a good and affordable selection of designer items. Vrijdagmarkt only sells menswear, however, distinguishing itself from the other two second-hand shops. But women shouldn’t be deterred. This shop also regularly stocks amazing clothes in smaller men’s sizes, that also fit women. They post regular updates of new additions to their Facebook page, so you don’t always have to visit the shop to see what’s new.
Had enough shopping for one day? Why not head to the magnificent ModeNatie and the MoMu, Antwerp’s fashion museum? Culture fans and fashionistas alike love the ground-breaking exhibitions of this internationally renowned museum. Until 18 March, you can visit Olivier Theyskens – She walks in beauty, an exhibition that provides a chronological overview of the designer’s 20-year career, with garments as well as photos and sketches that have never been shown before. A perfect – and stylish! – break during your day.
Vintage is hot, and Antwerp wouldn’t be a fashion capital without a proper vintage store! Episode was hugely popular with teenagers and students but suddenly closed its doors in 2011. Today, the Dutch chain is back on the block, in Reyndersstraat this time. Episode sells vintage clothes from around the world! Their offering of very affordable clothes changes every week. At Episode you will always find something that is bang on trend, with an interesting back story.
On Sundays, Antwerp’s Kloosterstraat always comes to life. Here you’ll find several shops that sell vintage and antique/design objects! Walk down the street to a fun clothing store called Five Fridays and browse their excellent selection of Scandinavian brands such as Samsoe & Samsoe, mbyM and Twist & Tango! They also sell unique, hand-made accessories and interior objects.
Last but not least, walk down Kloosterstraat to find Your. This store offers a great mix of high-end labels and lesser-known brands. You’ll always end up picking up something in this 1100 sq.m. super store. They sell everything from menswear and womenswear, watches, jewellery, books shoes, perfume, music and gadgets in this excellently curated concept store.
My favourite spot for lunch or dinner is Camino, a great place for food in Muntstraat that is very popular with locals. Its location means you won’t exactly stumble upon it, but I definitely recommend stopping here for a refuel! Camino specialises in Asian food, serving a melting pot of various Asian cuisines, including Vietnamese, Korean, Chinese… I love their rice bowl and pork belly.
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