By Nell McShane Wulfhart
August 03, 2015
Credit: Meghan Stone

Sophie Lloyd founded Shop Hop in 2010, the same year she moved to Buenos Aires. The fashion writer, editor and stylist-turned-personal-shopper now spends her time exploring the city’s ever-changing fashion scene and discovering new local designers. With Shop Hop, she offers bespoke shopping tours of Buenos Aires, leading visitors to under-the-radar boutiques and appointment-only showrooms that house some of the most fashion-forward creations in BA. Here, she divulges some of her favorite places.

What are the best things to buy in the city?

Leather is, of course, a must-buy in Buenos Aires. My picks would be a custom made leather jacket from Bettina Rizzi and a leather handbag from one of city’s local handbag designers—of which there are many. Men should check out PIET’s classic black leather bags and wallets and, for women, my long-time favorite is Kenall.

A pair of bespoke handmade leather shoes or boots is also a good investment—try Zachary. Jessica Kessel does her own line of off-the-rack shoes for women and has a new little boutique in San Telmo. And, if you have room in your suitcase, perhaps get some traditional Argentine textiles—a hand-knitted alpaca wool shawl or hand-woven rug.

What are the new shopping trends around town?

Rather than hitting up the city’s shopping malls, a lot of the best shopping can be found behind closed doors in appointment-only showrooms, of which there are a growing number in the city. Increasingly, emerging designers and brands are choosing to sell their collections out of their apartments or private studio spaces or workshops, as their overheads are much cheaper. It’s a fun, more personal way to shop, and you often get to meet the designer in person and learn more about their story. Many of them also offer made-to-measure services.

A lot of my shopping tours are focused on showing people these secret showrooms and workshops that they wouldn’t find on their own. Since a lot of these brands and designers make small, limited-edition collections, you’ll find something unique to take home with you. While Palermo Soho has long been the main shopping neighborhood, there are an increasing number of boutiques and showrooms popping up in other parts of Palermo and lesser-known neighborhoods such as Colegiales and Villa Crespo, too.

Where should go to buy tango shoes?

The Comme Il Faut showroom in Recoleta has a fabulous selection of statement tango shoes in all sorts of fun color combinations and prints. Greta Flora also has some stylish tango shoes in their Palermo boutique.

Which local designers stand out from the crowd?

Jessica Trosman’s JT by Jessica Trosman label is a must for fashionistas looking for one-of-a-kind statement pieces, and the designer’s concept boutique and headquarters—a little off the beaten track in Villa Crespo—is well worth a visit. Martin Churba’s experimental textiles and printing techniques for his label Tramando also stand out. And for the latest emerging designers on the scene, check out multi-designer boutique Panorama that stocks the likes of Mila Kartei, Maydi AZ and Nous Etudions.

What shops would you recommend for accessories?

I don’t want to give away all my shopping secrets, but I love jewelry designers Julia Alvarez and Catalina Dupont’s workshop in the Colegiales neighborhood, where they sell their handmade sterling silver collections and give jewelry making classes.

For handmade fine jewelry, check out Oleana’s showroom in Recoleta by designer Yanina Faour, who also offers bespoke services. Another unique spot is Fueguia, a local perfume laboratory that sell unisex fragrances and scents inspired by the history and culture of Argentina.

Nell McShane Wulfhart is based in Uruguay, and writes about South America for Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @nellmwulfhart.