What do New York, Paris, Milan and Antwerp have in common? We can think of a few things: cutting edge fashion, haute couture flagships and discount designs from the next generation of labels to watch. Today on the Park Inn blog, we’re checking out the new European fashion capital.

Antwerp has been a major player in the textile industry since the Middle Ages. For years, the city supplied Parisian trendsetters, but now Antwerp has its own place on the fashion map thanks to a vibrant collection of incredible designers who now call this city home. Shopping districts line the city’s cute cobbled street, with everything from international brands to vintage shops and lively markets represented. Move over Paris – there’s a new fashionista on the block.

The future of fashion

Antwerp’s dynamic design community owes a lot to the progressive Antwerp Academy. A fashion department was added to the Academy in the 1960s, with high standards from the beginning. Graduates include the influential, avant-garde designers of the early 1980s known as the Antwerp Six. More recent Academy alumni at the forefront of the industry include Veronique Branquinho, Haider Ackermann, and Bruno Pieters, all of whom have opened boutiques in the city’s most prestigious fashion district, De Modewijk. ModeNatie – home to the Flanders Fashion Institute and the MoMu fashion museum – holds frequent events to keep you in the know about where the trends are headed.

Keeping on trend with delightful designs

With so many Antwerp designers making waves in recent years, it’s no surprise that couture boutiques are as widespread – and entertaining – as the city’s museums. For the city’s coolest shops, head to Kammenstraat and Nationalestraat. ​Trendy and progressive Kammanstraat offers a vibrant atmosphere with lots of funky window displays to peruse while sipping cappuccino, Breakfast at Tiffany-style. There’s plenty for you around here if your look tends towards the edgy and alternative – check out Fish & Chips, an independent shop known for innovative, contemporary street wear and regular art exhibitions.

If you’re a fan of classic tailoring, check out Veronique Branquinho’s boutique on Nationalestraat. Her creations blend bold designs with timeless shapes for men and women alike. Then there’s the elegant multilevel Verso shop with its beautiful stained glass cupola and lofty rooms. They sell a wide range of designer wares, cosmetics and accessories, and the store is home to a fabulous cocktail cafe, too. 

Finishing touches

It’s the little things that really make an outfit. Antwerp’s aptly named Diamond District includes an arcade along Pelikaanstraat displaying enough gold and diamond jewellery to make Smaug blush. Meanwhile, on nearby Appelmansstraat, Vestingstraat and Hoveniersstraat – a convenient 5 minute walk from our Park Inn by Radisson Antwerp – you can find some total gems at surprisingly affordable prices.