Antwerp stands out as the Belgian capital of fashion – not in the least thanks to the international influence of the Antwerp Six. These eight boutiques have their fingers on the pulse when it comes to what’s in, what’s out, and what makes the hearts of Antwerp’s fashionistas pound a little faster every time.
Fifteen years of boutique excellence in Belgium’s fashion capital calls for a celebration, and Enes grabbed the opportunity for a big change with both hands. This year, the fashionista fixture started its next chapter in a two-story townhouse decorated by Gert Voorjans in typical Voorjans style, all homey exuberance and bohemian chic. Included in the style Walhalla are a patio bar, a bathroom where luxury beauty labels are displayed and an original Cubex kitchen that’s the stage for all sorts of bric-à-brac. The three guest rooms upstairs are to be transformed into an equally snazzy bed & breakfast.
The Coucke sisters aren’t lying when they ask you to forget about time and stay awhile. Their shop on Antwerp’s premier fashion street, the Nationalestraat, has been specifically designed for you to enjoy a slow brunch or lunch in the communal living room in the back. STAY is also a convenient anagram for what Stéphanie and Tinne hold most dear: ‘style, taste and you.’ Speaking of the latter, they will gladly help you bring out the most stylish version of yourself. The sisters’ personal approach and carefully curated selection of both men’s and women’s clothing make STAY a great spot for a couple’s shopping session.
Never say that men’s fashion can’t be snug – the brothers Olyslager will prove you wrong in a heartbeat. Their store Morrison, on the Nationalestraat, has been a godsend to metropolitan men who like to layer up during fall and prefer a knitted cardigan to a stylized blazer. Brand du jour is the brothers’ own internationally successful Howlin’, but you’ll also find cheerfully patterned socks by the Japanese Anonymous Ism and plaid shirts by Gitman Brothers.
This cozy shop on the Kloosterstraat is chockablock with blacks, whites, pastel pinks, and light blue denim. Five Fridays pulls from sophisticated Scandinavian style with ease, which features subdued colors and the warmest of scarves. Cheap Monday, Lollys Laundry, Samsøe & Samsøe and new addition Twist & Tango are all regulars, and from time to time, you’ll bump into an unexpected vintage treasure or charming coffee table. Not in Antwerp? Five Fridays also has a webshop that ships to most EU countries.
The woolly brainchild of entrepreneur and designer Ellen Kegels finally materialized in a flagship store in the city of its origin last year. The popular knitwear brand LN|Knits had already built a strong presence online with their 100 percent fair-trade clothing, made with wool from baby alpacas that are looked after in the Peruvian Andes. Kegels is a smart and responsible cookie when it comes to fashion, as every item in her young shop is handmade with the utmost care by over 350 contented Peruvian ladies. Look to collection LN|Andes for luxury everyday wear and to LN|Beanies for your casual winter sports look.
Parisiennes born in the wrong country can find solace at Fresh 34, Fresh 15’s companion on the Volksstraat. Established French brands such as Sessùn, Leon & Harper, IRO and the still fresh-faced Marie-Sixtine are a part of the contemporary style here, as are Belgian up-and-comers such as Bellerose. Expect fine, elegant jewelry to complete the look.
Antwerp fashion and Antwerp design go together like peas in a pod at Step by Step, Chantal Rochez and Julie Marynen’s haven for shoppers craving a well-curated selection of both Belgian and international brands. Already supported by a loyal customer base, the two ladies relied on another style-conscious duo to design the interior of their new shop: Pierric De Coster and Jonas Blondeel of Antwerp studio Dialect. The result is a clean-looking space that attentively lends itself to the different phases of the shopping experience. Barbie and Ken dolls are hanging out in whimsical displays while you try on your new favorite Isabel Marant, Alexander Wang, or Golden Goose piece.
For fans of the Antwerp Six who can’t quite afford the stellar prices of their sparkly new collections, Rosier 41 is the city’s go-to for secondhand chic. Designer pieces from the Belgian hands of Raf Simons, Ann Demeulemeester, and Dries Van Noten mix here with more international treasures and recently graduated talent from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. New arrivals come in every day, so you’ll want to keep an eye out for that one garment you were aching for all last season.