This time of the year is definitely my favorite one! It's the time of blossoming flowers & flourishing sample sales in every fashion city, from London to Paris, from Stockholm to Copenhagen and of course from Antwerp to Amsterdam. These last two cities are full of beautiful and unique vintage stores that I haven't seen anywhere else. I haven't traveled all over the world yet, but I'm a connoisseur, knowing the best shops to visit in all the cities I above mentioned. Every city has its number of must-go places but as far as I'm concerned I think Antwerp is definitely a city where the shopping experience knows no precedent! Antwerp, as we have already said, is the Mecca of Fashion! I have in mind a few addresses of shops to visit, especially of vintage shops like Rosier 41 and Labels Inc both known for curating archive pieces from The Antwerp Six, from Raf Simons, from all the brands that are hot out here in the fashion-sphere! Before our trip to Antwerp I had big expectations and wasn't disappointed. I tried a lot of damn good archive Raf at Rosier, but there were also eye-catching pieces from Margiela, Comme des Garçons, Acne Studios, Dries Van Noten... You could easily imagine my excitement searching for some treasures on the filled racks! However, choices had to be made! This shop almost killed me literally! Labels Inc is another prerequisite if you're fond of vintage stores selling beautiful pieces. This one is curating pieces that you can only find here, curating the avant-garde, the designers that make fashion really exciting! These two shops are filled with pieces that could be worn over and over without losing their magic & their power of disruption. On my way to Amsterdam I realized that I should have rescheduled my trip at the end of April because it's the time of titanic stock sales and gigantic sample sales like the one from Raf Simons! Next time I'll be much more organized! You may think I'm completely crazy when it comes to shopping but this is serious stuff guys, some things must be taken seriously! And after all, life is short so let's enjoy these little & comforting pleasures. Anyway, if you're in Antwerp don't be afraid to go off the beaten tracks and to explore some smaller streets where you'll come upon some little shops just like Vier, a shop reflecting the street vibe modernity of Antwerp.
We were comforted by the unexplained charms of Amsterdam and its streets filled with intriguing beauty. Compared to Antwerp, it was a different kind of shopping experience but nonetheless completely enjoyable & satisfying! We visited the Black Comme Des Garçons store in some kind of Chinatown parts of the Red Light District known for its infamous coffee shops and houses of pleasure! For me, this visit was like a voyage because the store has opened recently and also because you can only have a glimpse of the Black line by going to one of its stores (unless, of course, you're lucky enough to live in a city where there is a Dover Street Market). An intense, deep and dark atmosphere just like the smell of Comme des Garçons fragrances pervading the atmosphere. I was in heaven! You should also wander in the maze of streets around Rokin (the most visited street of the Ducth capital) that are filled with high street retailers but above all, because there is a beautiful & large Weekday store. A label we particularly love and that is also featuring such brands as Cheap Monday, Back or Vans.
Cowboys To Catwalk on Utrechsestraat is unique. This boutique is stocking only menswear collections with many Comme Des Garçons lines like Ganryu, Junya Watanabe, Homme Plus as well as other brands like Our legacy or Stussy meeting, on the same hanging rails, Lemaire and Dries Van Noten. They also have also a sharp sneaker offer. Actually, this store made me think of a smaller version of Dover Street Market, mixing high end fashion with more affordable brands. When into this cool space, you are warmly welcome by the kindest sale assistants who doesn't rush you to buy anything, but instead gives you advice, revealing other secret places the city may offer, somehow helping you to get lost in the good way, trying to satisfy your intense desire to discover.
If you're considering going to Antwerp or Amsterdam, here is a list of the shops that will make you lose your mind!
BLACK COMME DES GARÇONS
COWBOYS TO CATWALK
COWBOYS TO CATWALK
Words by Yann Sackville-West