If there's one thing we love more than travel, it's flying halfway around the world to go shopping. While sun-drenched locations are the ultimate antidote to a long winter (who doesn't love lying on a beach in Mexico?), our ideal destination is somewhere we need to take empty suitcases—all the better to shop these stunning flagship stores. Aside from the architecture and culture of these stylish cities, a huge part of their beauty is the people, and we love to immerse ourselves in the unique fashion and traditional clothing each location has to offer. And since New York, Paris, London, and Milan typically top the bucket list of most stylish jet-setters, we decided to feature locations you might not always think of. From their high-end boutiques to their iconic designers and chic influencers, these eight destinations are global leaders in style.
Why Visit: While Sydney is world-renowned for its high-end designers (our love for Dion Lee and Ellery is verging on obsession) and stylish bloggers (we're pretty sure you're all familiar with Harper and Harley, Brooke Testoni, and Chronicles of Her by now), Melbourne is a thriving creative force in the Australian fashion landscape. Each year, the annual Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival highlights the nation's fashion, arts, ideas, and creative spirit, and it is now the country's largest consumer fashion event.
But shows aside, the city's iconic laneways are brimming with inspiring street style (check out Streetsmith to see what we mean), designer boutiques, and locally made brands you'll want to bring home. Don't miss Nobody Denim on Brunswick Street for designer denim handmade in Australia. Its factory is located across the street from its flagship—true story.
Why Visit: Berlin is the capital of cool. Renowned for its punk underbelly, the city is a place where individuality and creativity reigns. There is a rich and multicultural diversity that has fueled a bright artistic and design scene. Fashion has always been at the heart of this city, but a new breed of designers are putting the spotlight on Berlin as a premium destination for fashion. We're obsessed with William Fan. The Berlin-based designer's signature oversize silhouettes and androgynous vibes are the definition of hip. We know you'll agree.
Why Visit: If you love Japan's over-the-top and delightful take on fashion, you'll be enthralled by Korea's unique style set. Seoul is a must-visit destination for the stylish traveler—and you'll want to know all their beauty secrets, too. You only need to click through Vogue's Seoul Fashion Week gallery to see why. By now, you're familiar with the famous K-pop set; just take a minute to imagine this flamboyance on the streets. It's impossibly cool and downright enviable.
Why Visit: If there's one city that's making fashion waves across the world, it's Moscow. Street culture and art have had a major influence on many designers past and present (one glance at the city's street style and it's easy to see why). According to Business of Fashion, since the fall of the USSR 23 years ago, "Russia has grown to become one of the largest emerging markets for fashion in the world," with a fashion market worth 2448 billion rubles (about $53 billion).
Perhaps the buzziest designer right now is Gosha Rubchinskiy, thanks to a collaboration with Adidas and a series of inspiring collections The New York Times reports were "inspired by crews of Soviet skateboarders and the teenage denizens of '90s St. Petersburg nightclubs." It's seriously cool, with a political undertone and powerful message. "I think it's important, in a time of strange things in politics, when some countries go to nationalist ideas and want to be isolated, I feel things like football, or music, or fashion, can unite people," he told The New York Times. It's the way the youth in Moscow are fusing Western style with their own that makes it unique and relevant. This is a movement to watch.
Calin Ambrus for 500px
Why Visit: If you love an urban environment, add Vancouver to your list. It's a mecca for all things streetwear and stylish, and you'll get more bang for your buck thanks to a strong U.S. dollar. This bustling city has a grungy yet modern vibe, and it is home to some of the nation's most popular brands we all know and love (including Herschel Supply Co. and Sorel, to name a few). The streets are paved with interesting boutiques and up-and-coming local designers to watch.
Why Visit: Not only is Stockholm brimming with stylish people, but it's also one of the most beautiful places to visit too. Walk the winding cobbled streets through the colorful baroque style homes of the city's perfectly preserved Gamla Stan, and sip coffee from the myriad of cozy and unique cafés. Aside from the plethora of boutiques, there are a ton of historic attractions, including the Royal Palace and the Vasa Museum—and as one of the safest places in the world, it's also a great destination for solo travelers.
Known for some of our favorite designer and high street brands from H&M to Acne, you won't be short on shopping malls and luxury flagships to shop. We're already obsessed with their minimalistic take on home décor, so fashion is a natural extension.
Why Visit: Tokyo is a veritable hot spot for culture, offering up some of the most diverse, unusual, and fascinating fashion in the world. It's a visual feast of intriguing subcultures, trends, and historical influences all layered together into one eccentric melting pot. It's certainly one of the best places to witness streetwear at its finest and most avant-garde forms. There are no limits, and that's what makes it extraordinary. Just walking down the streets of Tokyo is a sight to behold, and it quickly becomes clear why this city continues to be an inspiration point for so many designers across the globe.
Why Visit: Heard of a small label called Vetements? If you haven't, then it might be time to get on board—here's everything you need to know. The former primary designer of this popular brand, Demna Gvasalia, is now the artistic director at Balenciaga (stepping into Alexander Wang's shoes) but he also leads both design teams at Maison Margiela and Louis Vuitton. So why is this relevant? Well, Gvasalia trained at the prestigious Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp in Belgium, where the likes of Dries Van Noten and Ann Demeulemeester also studied. Renowned globally as a breeding ground for so many notable and adored designers (WWD called it the retail capital of Belgium), it's time you put Antwerp on your fashionable bucket list, ASAP.
Where to Shop: Ra13, Your, Graanmarkt 13, Houben, Renaissance, Coccodrillo, Essentiel, Verso, Hospital, Scoop
Did your favorite fashionable city make the cut?
This post was originally published on January 25, 2017, and has since been updated.