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If you thought that cities such as Paris, New York, Milan and London had a monopoly on fashion, think again. These design-forward destinations are drawing a creative crowd and redefining our wardrobes.
The world’s best emerging fashion destinations
Over the last few years, designers Duro Olowu and Maki Oh (among others) have become increasing fixtures on red carpet round-ups. Their common link? Lagos. Last year marked a turning point in the Nigerian capital’s fashion history, with Naomi Campbell storming the catwalk at Arise Fashion Week to a front-row of international press followed by Homecoming festival, a three-day fashion and art extravaganza headlined by Skepta. Those with a good eye and a deft hand for design should spend an afternoon sifting through the reams of traditional batik-print fabrics sold at Tejuosho Market. To shop for homegrown Nigerian designers, head to Temple Muse, a lifestyle concept store. TO STAY: Bogobiri House
Our obsession with Seoul started with Psy’s Gangnam style in 2012, and hasn’t let up since. The teenies were the decade that Korea’s popstars, skincare routines and culinary exports colonised the western world. For the fashion-conscious, South Korea’s capital city is a must-visit. Those with heavy purses are spoilt for choice, with most of the 30,000 shops found in the Dongdaemun Market commercial district, open 24 hours. Itaewon is the go-to for vintage goods, while Bangbae-dong is rich in niche speciality shops such as Rm360, a favourite record shop of DJ Peggy Gou. TO STAY: Hotel Cappuccino
The Antwerp Six designers – a set which includes Dries Van Noten, Ann Demeulemeester and Walter Van Beirendonck – might have graduated from the city’s now famous Royal Academy of Fine Arts in the 80s but their legacy of enduring cool remains. Fans of the Antwerp Alumnus Raf Simons should scope out Vincent Van Duysen’s post-industrial buildings and Kanaal by Axel Vervoordt, a buzzing cultural centre which took 18 years to build. Take cues from the city’s style mavens by people-watching at Kolonel Koffie, a neighbourhood favourite café, before hitting up MoMu, Antwerp’s dedicated fashion museum – its Textile as Resistance exhibition closes on 16 February. TO STAY: August
It’s not about big business and flashy labels in Arles; this is a city which whispers its style credentials. The Frank Gehry-designed Luma Arles – which supports independent artists across art, photography, publishing and the like – is set to open its doors this spring. Alternatively, dust off your trainers and head for the hills to see just why designer Christian Lacroix calls this romantic city home, or make for the city’s Roman ruins – Gucci transformed the cemetery into a fantastical, smoky dreamscape for their Cruise 2019 show. Savvy travellers will know to visit in early June, when the annual photography fair, Les Rencontres d’Arles, takes over the city. TO STAY: Le Collatéral
Often overshadowed by its bigger, noisier sibling of Amsterdam, Rotterdam is making a case for being the Netherlands’ most stylish city. The Hoodie, Het Nieuwe Instituut’s current exhibition curated by Lou Stoppard, considers the humble garb’s social and political significance from the 30s right up until the present day. If 80s glamour is more your thing, hit up Kunsthal Rotterdam where a glittering Thierry Mugler retrospective awaits. The city’s not short of chic hangouts, either. FG Food Labs is a cosy, wooden bunker of a restaurant dishing up Michelin-starred “molecular gastronomy” (nope, us neither). As night falls, do like a local by grabbing a street-side table at a bar along Witte de Withstraat. TO STAY: The James Rotterdam
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