7 Top Fashion Cities — and What to Buy When You Travel There
Everyone has a different motivation for travel, be it food, drink, or sightseeing — but for some travelers, the best way to celebrate the joys of jet-setting is to shop. And who can blame those travelers, really? There is nothing better than importing your very own fine silks and leather, or returning home from a new-to-you destination with a piece that tells a story. In the name of being able to point to various outfits in your wardrobe and fixtures around your home and say, "oh, that? I picked it up on my last trip to [insert destination here]" we've gathered the best shopping destinations around the world, and honed in on what to buy in each place. Here, your shopping guide to travel.
Paris, France — Vintage
The question is not what can you buy in Paris, but rather, what can you not find in this city? The capital of haute couture is brimming with designer boutiques, from the iconic fashion houses off the Champs-Élysées to the lesser-known boutiques in the Marais. Because timeless styles has cycled through Paris for decades (if not centuries), this is the perfect destination for high-end vintage shopping. Scout barely used looks from the '90s and vintage Dior at shops like Thanx God I'm a VIP and Tilt Vintage.
Geneva, Switzerland — Skincare
European skincare is touted as the very best, but the pinnacle of cosmetic shopping lies in Switzerland for one very clear reason: This is where the best products in the world are made. The top luxury cosmetics purveyors (think: Valmont Cosmetics and La Prairie) use water from the glaciers of the Swiss Alps to blend some of the world's most sought-after skincare products. Valmont, for example, sources their water from Val d'Herens and grows their signature ingredients — sea buckthorn and calendula flowers, among other plants all grown in full Swiss sunlight with no pesticides.
Milan, Italy — Cashmere, Leather
Shopping in Milano, land of Prada, is a treat no matter what you're buying. But Italy is indeed the cashmere and leather capital, and Milan is the epicenter of Italian fashion. Their reputation for cashmere comes from the likes of Brunello Cucinelli and Loro Piana, both of which have brick-and-mortar stores in Milan. Beyond cashmere, you can find all things leather in Milano — from jackets to boots to chic winter gloves. For high-end leather goods, visit Valextra's flagship Milan store or Il Bisonte in Santo Spirito.
New Delhi, India — Jewelry, Silk
New Delhi is a tangle of colors and textures and that is never more true than when you're out shopping in this city. You cannot miss the fine jewelry stores, many of which have been in business in decades and find high-quality gemstones and diamonds. You'll be taken in not only by the quality of the jewels but the intricate designs at institutions like Khanna Jewellers and Hazoorilal Jewellers. As for silk and other fabrics, Chandni Chowk — one of Delhi's famed bazaars — is an iconic place to shop for materials you're unlikely to find anywhere else.
Johannesburg, South Africa — Leather, Streetwear
Jo'burg street style is unmatched — with industrial complexes turned into one-of-a-kind shopping malls and places where creative talent can gather. Start scouting streetwear at Stanley 44 and Victoria Yards, two of the best of these industrial complexes with green space and impressive shops and high-fashion talent, before heading over to Melrose Arch for some luxury shopping and art gallery hopping. For leather, you must visit both Dry Bone Co. (which started in Victoria Yards but now can be found at Melrose Arch) and Colony Design.
Los Angeles, California — One-of-a-kind Wardrobe Staples
Yes, Los Angeles is home to Rodeo Drive and every luxury fashion house (not to mention designer) has a presence here. And while this kind of shopping is essential in the City of Angels, so is boutique shopping in LA. Some of your favorite small-scale brands (like Fred Segal, The Odells, and LVIR) have boutiques scattered around Los Angeles. That's why this is the city where you'll want to buy your investment basics (i.e., that linen skirt that never goes out of style, or the perfect midi-boots to pair with cropped trousers) at a store you could only find in LA. Looking for the in-the-know place to start shopping? Try The Row DTLA.
Tokyo, Japan — Fashion-forward Pieces
Shopping in Tokyo is as close as you can get to shopping in the future. Their styles from cutting-edge designers are deeply rooted in the arts and offer a lens into the fashion in the coming years. Shop luxury in Asia's fashion capital in Ginza — the city's poshest shopping district — or explore streetwear and vintage trends in Shimokitazawa and Harajuku. And, of course, when shopping in Japan, don't miss their over-the-top department stores, from Matsuya (in Ginza) to the largest Muji store in the world, with a hotel on the top floor.