Do you want to spruce up your clothes selection but don’t want to look like anyone else in town? There’s nothing better for your wardrobe (and worse for your wallet) than hitting the shops in these incredible shopping destinations all around the world.
Ah, Paris! Like a living, breathing catwalk, the streets are full of fashionable locals. No wonder, since it’s easy to find any kind of fashion in the city and it’s one of the leading places in the world for clothes shopping.
The beating heart of Paris’s fashion scene is the Opera neighbourhood, which is home to department stores and many high-end fashion vendors. In the centre of the city, around Les Halles and Rue de Rivoli you’ll find many chain stores in a huge underground mall, but if you’re looking for boutique then nearby Rue Montorgueil will suit you down to the ground.
Of course, wandering around the city will turn up many surprises, as well as plenty of high-street stores. Les Marais is essential for anyone interested in finding affordable clothing. There’s so much for the shopper to see and do, so be sure to keep yourself refreshed with several stops in local cafes for a delicious coffee. It’s a hard life, eh?
Essential visit: For chic design and vintage clothing, the beautiful Les Marais district is essential.
Los Angeles receives 310 days of sunshine every year. That’s a lot of sunshine and enough of a reason to go in itself, but what really makes Los Angeles worth visiting is the incredible shopping.
Traditionally a mall-based shopping experience, the city boasts plenty of outdoor and indoor malls. The most notable of these is without question the Santa Monica Place, although Westfield Century City and Paseo Colorado are also great to visit.
There are other shopping areas of note that are as beautiful as they are full with great shops, such as Old Pasadena.
For those searching for a more alternative shopping vibe, a trip to the Rose Bowl Flea Market might be in order, which has thousands of vendors selling vintage clothes and other knick-knacks.
Essential visit: The iconic Melrose Avenue will make you feel like a movie star.
Marrakesh might not immediately spring to mind when thinking about shopping but it’s one of the most rewarding (and at times challenging) shopping experiences there is.
The cobblestone streets of the souk are iconic and buzz with an unrivalled energy. Locals barter with the vendors over goods with a vigour and determination that will seem daunting at first, but it comes with great rewards. If you can get your haggling skills sharpened to compete with the best of them, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as walking away from the souk with your bags full of jewellery, a beautiful scarf, pots, spices and anything else you can imagine — all at a fraction of the price you’d pay back home.
Essential visit: The souk, even if you buy nothing it is an experience of a lifetime.
Notable designers/brands: Atil Kutoglu, Mehtap Elaidi
Berlin is one of the coolest cities in the world at the moment, so it’s no surprise to find that it’s also one of the hottest places to visit for fashion-savvy travellers.
Trendy fashion stores line the streets of Mitte, around Alte Schonhauser and Neue Schonhauser Strasse, Munzstrasse and Rosenthaler Strasse. Those looking for an upmarket experience will love Friedrichstrasse, with its department stores and high-end fashion sellers.
In the west of the city, high-street stores dominate the Kurfustendamm, although many boutique stores can be found dotted between the larger, more famous shops.
Berlin is a city that caters for any taste and it is one of the most exciting places to be at the moment.
Essential visit: Kurfustendamm is architecturally one of the city’s most beautiful areas and home to countless boutique stores.
Notable designers/brands: Claudia Skoda, LaLaBerlin
Tokyo will overwhelm you. One of the largest cities in the world, it is also one of the best for fashion hunters. Shops and brand names such as Gucci, Chanel, Louis Vuitton and more are bunched together, making high-end fashion easy for the trendy locals.
Ginza is the main focal point for shopping and specialises in upscale stores. Recently, newer and more affordable stores have opened, although at one time land here was the most expensive in the world.
Tokyo also boasts some of the world’s biggest malls, including the enourmous Tokyo Bay which caters for all tastes.
Other notable areas include Omotesando, which is home to Prada, Dior and Louis Vuitton, as well as Harajuku which is at the cutting-edge of Japan’s fashion scene. For alternative types, don’t miss Shimokitazawa and Koenji, which are quirky and offbeat neighbourhoods that vintage lovers can’t get enough of.
Essential visit: Ginza is a must, even if you can’t afford anything there.
Buenos Aires is famous for its leather, but it should have more of a reputation for its cute independent fashion stores that are scattered around the leafy streets of Palermo Hollywood and Palermo Soho.
Argentina’s capital is one of the few cities in Latin America that can offer world-beating shopping. In the city centre, Microcentro is home to standard high-street fair, while kitsch markets and affordable, independent shops can be found in Plaza Serrano .
The city is a charming ode to European architecture, and a shopper’s dream.
Essential visits: San Telmo market on a Sunday is one of the world’s defining shopping experiences.
“The Milan of Australia” is how it’s known to some, but it shouldn’t be in Milan’s shadow for much longer. To be sure, tourists are visiting in droves. According to Yahoo.com, international visitors spent 4.3 billion Australian dollars here in 2011, and it’s a figure that is sure to increase this year.
Melbourne is full of great shopping, from the basement bargains of Swanston Street to the overwhelming and exhausting Queen Victoria Markets, which is one of the largest swap markets in the world.
For the higher-end of Melbourne’s shopping experience, head to Collins Street. Your bank balance won’t thank you, but leave that for future you to think about.
Essential visit: Queen Victoria Markets will take you more than a day, but is a must-do even for those who aren’t looking to shop.
New York City
New York City has it all, and then some. Exclusive boutiques abound in Madison Avenue, while Williamsburg, Brooklyn is probably the best place in the world for second-hand, vintage fashion. That’s not even to mention 5th Avenue, SoHo or the enourmous department stores that are unquestionably the most famous and comprehensive in the world.
New York has made its name as one of the shopping capitals of the world. This combined with its unrivalled atmosphere and beautiful, imposing archiecture make it a must-visit for any lover of shopping and travel. If it’s good enough for Carrie and the girls, it’s good enough for everyone.
Essential visit: The Lower East Side is where the trendsetters shop and where to find that iconic New York look.
Millions head to Bangkok annually to experience the city’s incredible shopping opportunities and it’s little wonder why. Traditional jewellery and silk goods are a steal, while getting tailor-made clothes for your man in Thailand will keep him happy as you drag him around.
Bangkok’s defining shopping experience is undoubtedly a visit to its hectic markets, where you’ll be able to uncover countless bargains. For those who don’t fancy that challenge, however, or merely want to complement their new bargains with more recognisable names, there are many malls such as CentralWorld for you to visit.
Essential visit: Chatuchak Market is quite simply one of the most exciting shopping experiences that exists.
London has long been known as the world’s shopping capital. With the Olympics and the Royal wedding, a new energy has been injected into England’s capital city and locals have a new spring in their step.
Shopping in London is an exhausting experience. Oxford Street is iconic and one of the best places for high-end shopping, while Knightsbridge is a must for luxury shoppers. But London’s real shopping experience is to be found in the many markets and independent stores that are scattered throughout the city.
Alternative types head to the Camden Market for vintage bargains, while the trendsetting hipster types explore Spitalfields Market and Brick Lane.
Essential visit: Bond Street is one of the most expensive streets in the world. Sigh. We can always dream.
Notable designers/brands: Vivienne Westwood, Alexander McQueen