MP3 vs vinyl, digital photography vs film, texting vs catching up down the pub. There’s no denying technology has made many of life’s little details more convenient, but the problem is that it all too often tears the heart out of them in the process.
Clothes shopping is another prime example. Thankfully there is still a healthy smattering of bricks-and-mortar stores around the globe committed to keeping the full retail experience alive.
From the skyscrapers of Dubai to the canals of Amsterdam, these are the 50 coolest clothing spaces from around the world and the reasons why you should check them out.
END (Newcastle upon Tyne)
Once just a tiny boutique nestled in a back alley in Newcastle, this Geordie establishment is now one of the most recognisable names in menswear retail.
Here, in the firm’s fittingly crisp flagship store, you’ll find industry-leading fashion labels, alongside sportswear and sneakers, with a selection of hip homeware and premium grooming products to match.
133-137 Grainger Street, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE1 5AE
Oi Polloi (Manchester)
The physical embodiment of that effortlessly cool Mancunian edge, Oi Polloi has been kitting out the city’s most stylish lads for close to two decades.
In addition to a killer selection of sneakers, expect utilitarian staples from the likes of Patagonia, Beams Plus, Engineered Garments, orSlow and more. ‘Ave it.
63 Thomas Street, Manchester, M4 1LQ
Son Of A Stag (London)
For some guys, jeans are just jeans. For others, denim is the centre of their universe. The chaps behind Shoreditch-based Son Of A Stag fall into the latter camp.
Step through the door of this Americana-infused denim hub, and you’ll be met with hard-to-find selvedge denim brands that would ordinarily require a trip to Japan or the USA to procure. All of which can be made to fit like a glove, thanks to a free on-the-spot alteration service.
9 Dray Walk, London, E1 6QL
The London hipster mecca of Dalston may seem like an unlikely spot for a plush, luxury fashion boutique, but LN-CC (short for Late Night Chameleon Cafe) is bursting with surprises.
If you can find the entrance to this appointment-only space, you’ll be rewarded with an otherworldly interior that houses wares from some of the most revered labels and designers on Earth.
18-24 Shacklewell Lane, London, E8 2EZ
Tucked away in Leeds’ iconic Corn Exchange building, MKI Miyuki Zoku has been offering contemporary threads that won’t break the bank for nearly a decade.
Alongside its eponymous in-house brand, MKI also boasts an ever-changing roster of guest labels, hand-picked by owner and designer Vik Tailor. This is independent shopping at its very best.
The Corn Exchange, Call Lane, Leeds, LS1 7BR
18 Montrose (Glasgow)
Admittedly, Scotland isn’t exactly rammed to the gunnels with high-gloss, men’s concept stores, but Glasgow’s 18 Montrose more than makes up for the absence.
Boasting a catalogue of high-profile brands that reads like A$AP Rocky’s shopping list, if the streetwear kids are crushing on a piece, you can be almost certain to find it here.
18 Montrose Street, Glasgow, G1 1RE
Peggs & Son (Brighton)
Situated in the south of England, Peggs & Son is a local hub for all things menswear. Founded on a shoestring budget in 2000, this humble little shop is one of the UK’s most respected independent fashion boutiques.
With a focus on British, Japanese, American and Scandinavian menswear brands, this institution is yet another reason to get yourself down to the seaside.
39 Duke Street, Brighton, BN1 1AG
Frontiers Man (Edinburgh)
Since 2016 Frontiers Man has been on a mission to bring previously unavailable brands to Edinburgh and put the city on the map for something other than kilts and sporrans.
Think Norse Projects, Gitman Vintage and Fracap, all housed in a quaint terraced shop on one of Eddy’s most scenic cobbled streets.
4 William Street, Edinburgh, EH3 7NH
It’s no overstatement to say that Sunderland-based Aphrodite is one of the north east’s OG men’s fashion emporiums.
Thanks to a keen eye for quality that has lasted since 1994, and a constantly evolving selection of the coolest clothes money can buy, Andrew and Duncan McKenzie’s shop is now considered a menswear powerhouse.
7-8 Vine Place, Sunderland, SR1 3NE
“It’s a lifestyle, baby” proclaims Goodhood’s cheery slogan. And if you head down to check out the shop, you’ll soon see what they mean.
This east London den of cool is packed with more contemporary menswear than you can shake a coat hanger at. But it also stocks homeware more stylish than the entire contents of your wardrobe, books and magazines that could spruce up even the drabbest of coffee tables and a selection of the finest grooming goodies and fragrances you could hope to find.
151 Curtain Road, London, EC2A 3QE
Bodega (Boston, Massachusetts)
On stepping foot into Bodega, you might think that Google Maps is having a laugh at your expense. But push on the vending machine in what looks like a convenience store and you’ll enter one of the most hyped sneaker and clothing boutiques the world has ever seen.
With some of the rarest trainers around and regular collaborations with some of the world’s hottest brands, Bodega is not one to be missed. Although it would be quite easy to do so.
6 Clearway Street, Boston, MA 02115
Front General Store (Brooklyn, New York)
Menswear designer and sartorial magpie Nigel Cabourn once said that he needs at least two hours to rummage through the rails at this Brooklyn-based vintage paradise. Which should give some idea of how extensive it is.
Not everything at Front General Store is old, mind. Second-hand clothing sits alongside other carefully selected wares. All of which is definitely worthy of your time.
143 Front Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Nomad (Toronto, Ontario)
Established in 2005, Nomad is one of the veteran players in Toronto’s blossoming menswear scene.
The store has built a name for itself by knowing its customer base inside out, offering top-shelf gear from luxury Japanese brands like Engineered Garments, Visvim and CDG, alongside affordable basics from the likes of Carhartt WIP. So, whatever your wallet’s saying, you can probably afford to pick something tasty up.
819 Queen Street West, Toronto, M6J 1G1
Flight Club (Los Angeles, California)
Any red-blooded sneakerhead could be forgiven for thinking they’d died and gone to heaven on entering this world-famous LA store.
The walls of Flight Club’s narrow interior are lined with hundreds of the rarest and most sought-after trainers ever to have been released, so it’s no wonder it counts big-name rappers and movie stars among its clientele.
535 North Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90036
Totokaelo (Seattle, Washington)
Known for its surgically clean, minimalist styling and a focus on edgy fashion, Totokaelo quickly became the go-to spot for Seattle’s cool kids when it opened back in 2003.
A hit with America’s fashionistos, it recently expanded to include a graffiti-covered location in New York, and there’s even talk of Totokaelo restaurants and hotels cropping up in the future.
1523 10th Avenue, Seattle, WA 98122
Askov Finlayson (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
If you’re a die-hard northerner, then Askov Finlayson in Minneapolis is going to be right up your street.
Inspired by the outdoor culture of Minneapolis, brothers Andrew and Eric Dayton set about curating a selection of sturdy apparel including rainproof outerwear from Norse Projects and rugged boots from Danner. It’s undoubtedly America’s best option for surviving the cold in style.
204 North First Street, Minneapolis, MN 55401
Clark Street Mercantile (Montreal, Quebec)
Nestled away in one of Montreal’s oldest neighbourhoods, Clark Street Mercantile mirrors its surrounding with a rustic, general store-vibe that goes against the grain of clean and clinical fashion boutiques.
Where better to escape from the snow and pick up handpicked woodsy-chic wares from the likes of Red Wing, Universal Works and YMC? We can’t think of anywhere.
5200 Clark Street, Montreal, QC H2T 2V2
UBIQ (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
In recent years, Philly has forged itself a reputation as one of the best shopping cities in the States. And with UBIQ in its repertoire, it’s not difficult to see why.
A cavernous rabbit warren of an interior, mixing dark and light spaces, UBIQ is a shopping experience like no other. Take a wander inside and you’ll find always-in-style essentials from Vans and Converse alongside the latest grail pieces from Stone Island and Stussy.
1509 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102
Sid Mashburn (Atlanta, Georgia)
With design posts at J.Crew, Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger, and positions on leading style titles between them, it’s little wonder husband and wife team Sid and Ann Mashburn have made such a success of their retail empire.
A hot-spot for all things sartorially stylish, Sid Mashburn (don’t worry, Ann has a womenswear store named after her) offers everything from own-label and branded goods straight off the peg to a made-to-measure shirt service.
1198 Howell Mill Road, Suite 110, Atlanta
Supreme (Brooklyn, New York)
Queues around the block; streetwear fanatics camping in tents; notoriously disinterested staff who are way too cool to be helping the likes of you. Supreme doesn’t exactly stack up as a must-visit shopping destination. Yet, the brand has still become a cult favourite worth a hefty $1 billion.
It probably has something to do with its achingly-cool stores, like this one in New York where a giant skateboard bowl acts as a centrepiece for the must-have street staples dotted sparsely around the walls. Save us a spot in the line.
152 Grand Street, Brooklyn, NY 11249
Soto (Berlin, Germany)
Berlin may just be the most frustratingly cool city on the face of the Earth, so it stands to reason that it’s also home to one of the planet’s freshest men’s style outposts.
The brainchild of three friends, Soto has some of the most Instagrammable decor of any shop out there. Best summed up as a German cavern of cool, it’s is a must-visit if you find yourself in town.
Torstraße 72, 10119 Berlin
Belief (Moscow, Russia)
Moscow is quickly becoming something of a trendsetter when it comes to urban fashion, making it the perfect place to introduce Russia to a host of premium lifestyle brands.
Belief swung open its doors in 2011 as a retail-space-cum-art-gallery and has since fostered relationships with every conceivable subculture, all who are represented in the store’s dimly lit rails.
Leont’yevskiy Pereulok, 5, Moskva, 125009
AMI (Paris, France)
Young Parisian label AMI has been a big hit with the world’s best-dressed men since it first sprang up in 2011.
A store on Boulevard Beaumarchais in the French capital is the brand’s home and is the perfect place to visit if you want to get a taste of founder Alexandre Mattiussi’s unique eye for simple, sophisticated style.
109 Boulevard Beaumarchais, 75003 Paris
Kyoto (Copenhagen, Denmark)
Despite confusingly sharing its name with the former capital of Japan, Kyoto in Copenhagen is in fact the epicentre of all things Scandinavian.
Lining the walls of this pared-back, industrial-feel space are handpicked hits from some of the region’s biggest and most well-regarded names (think Acne Studios, Our Legacy and Wood Wood), as well as enough minimal sneakers to bookend any outfit you end up taking home.
Istedgade 95, 1650 København
Hutspot (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
In just a few short years, Amsterdam-based outpost Hutspot has gone from a plucky startup founded by three childhood friends to one of the Dutch city’s coolest concepts.
Fewer mass-market names, more undiscovered gems, the stripped-back airy store allows emerging brands, designers and entrepreneurs to showcase their ranges in dedicated areas.
Van Woustraat 4, 1073 LL Amsterdam
The Outpost (Barcelona, Spain)
Owing to a mix of muted lighting and artfully built displays, The Outpost in Barcelona is one store that’s just as likely to impress interior design nuts as it is to bowl over style aficionados.
Established in 2008 as part of Spain’s burgeoning menswear scene, The Outpost’s high-low selection of brands means that names such as Church’s regularly come together with the likes of Patagonia in some of the most impressive window displays seen anywhere.
Carrer del Rosselló, 281 Bis, 08037 Barcelona
Luisa Via Roma (Florence, Italy)
Founded in 1930, and with a global reputation for unadulterated luxury, Florence’s Luisa Via Roma should be the first port of call for any self-respecting high-end menswear addict.
The unassuming exterior distracts from the fact that Luisa Via Roma is packed to the rafters with treasures. If a brand hasn’t been stocked here, it’s probably just not A-list enough.
Via Roma, 19/21/r, 50123 Firenze FI
Grandpa (Stockholm, Sweden)
With three stores already across Sweden, Grandpa is slowly but surely taking the country by storm. The original (and best) of the bunch in Stockholm is best described as a miniature department store that sells everything from books and homeware to gadgets and Swedish as well as international fashion.
Head down in the evening to find a DJ spinning records or a band tearing the roof off the place. It’s certainly no place for the elderly.
Södermannagatan 21, 116 40 Stockholm
Vier (Antwerp, Belgium)
A favourite of celebrated Belgian fashion designer Raf Simons, Vier in Antwerp is the physical embodiment of the crossover between the catwalk and the cool kids on the street.
Inside, cutting-edge, high-fashion pieces are placed right up against hoodies and graphic T-shirts from the shop’s laid-back, in-house label. Well, you haven’t really got a choice when the interior is only 30 square metres.
Kammenstraat 66, 2000 Antwerpen
F5 Concept Store (Oslo, Norway)
F5 is the ultimate Norwegian concept store, in so much as the concept is that everything inside is Norwegian.
Located in Oslo, this approach means that it carries some truly unique gear. So while you may not find many labels you recognise, you will find something different that is guaranteed to set you apart from the crowd.
Prinsens Gate 6, 0152 Oslo
Okura (Shibuya, Japan)
It may not look like much from the outside, but through the threshold of this unassuming building in Daikanyama (essentially the Brooklyn of Tokyo) is a truly Japanese experience.
Against a backdrop of old fixtures made from driftwood and an antique store-type atmosphere, you’ll find clothing based on traditional Japanese tailoring techniques and designs, which is a long way of saying plenty of handsome workwear in shades of indigo.
20-11 Sarugaku-cho, Shibuya-ku,Tokyo
Take 5 & Co. (Hong Kong)
‘Amekaji’, otherwise known as ‘American casual’ is a look that countless Asian destinations including Japan and Hong Kong have become obsessed with. In fact, the guys at Take 5 love the aesthetic so much that they’re probably actually better at it than the Americans themselves.
Boasting shelves lined with deadstock military apparel and an entire wall dedicated to Japanese raw denim, Take 5 & Co is a paradise for denimheads and Americana enthusiasts alike.
17 Cameron Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
Dover Street Market (Ginza, Japan)
No list of must-visit shops could ever be considered complete without at least one branch of Rei Kawakubo’s Dover Street Market. While the original may be on the other side of the planet in London, Japan is unquestionably DSM’s spiritual home.
Picture a cross between an art gallery and high-end department store packed with names like Craig Green, Gosha Rubchinskiy and, of course, Comme des Garcons, and you’ll be halfway there.
6 Chome-9-5 Ginza, Chuo, Tokyo 104-0061
Space Mue (Seoul, South Korea)
South Korea’s most directional retailer, situated in Seoul’s fashion and retail hub, Space Mue’s otherworldly interior is intriguing and daunting in equal measures.
Sitting on floating metal rails suspended from the high ceilings is an ever-evolving edit of avant-garde wares from brands whose aim it is to leave a lasting impression. A match made in heaven, then.
93-6 Cheongdam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
Juice (Beijing, China)
The bricks-and-mortar retail outlet of Hong Kong brand CLOT, Juice is one of the world’s premier destinations for rare sneakers and streetwear.
The firm also has locations in Taiwan and Malaysia, but we’re particularly fond of the wooden furnishings, plants and uncluttered decor of its Chinese hub as the place to cop all the hottest new drops.
Unit S8-15, Tower 8, No.19 Sanlitum Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing
Invincible Central (Taichung, Taiwan)
Invincible Central is one of the most prominent streetwear shops in all of Asia. And that’s saying something.
The Taiwan store has gained worldwide attention for its footwear collaborations with the likes of Converse, Adidas, Reebok and New Balance, while its in-store selection of streetwear has been keeping Taichung’s grail-hungry hypebeasts happy since 2007.
No. 22, Lane 133, Section 1, Meicun Road, West District, Taichung City, Taiwan 403
Loftman Coop (Kyoto, Japan)
Tucked away down one of Kyoto’s covered arcades is every stylish adventurer’s paradise: Loftman Coop.
Beyond the tiny shopfront lies a veritable Tardis of a store, packed full of gear by some of the finest outdoor brands from all corners of the world. It’s got everything you could possibly need for a well-dressed yomp in the Japanese hills.
280 Enpukujimaecho, Nakagyo-ward, Kyoto
Good Vibes Only (Hong Kong)
Housed in a repurposed warehouse in the old industrial district of Kwun Tong, Good Vibes Only is a streetwear boutique that showcases the very best in homegrown design talent from Hong Kong and China.
Shop for clothing from native underground brands, in a cool space, surrounded by neon signs and skate memorabilia. What more could any discerning streetwear aficionado possibly want?
Wang Kwong Industrial Building, G, 45 Hung To Road, Kwun Tong, Hong Kong
Vendor (Nakameguro, Japan)
Nakameguro is quickly becoming one of Tokyo’s hippest neighbourhoods, and its appeal is boosted even further by the fact that it’s home to what is arguably one of the Japanese capital’s coolest shops.
A two-floor space filled with natural light, Vendor gives clued-up guys a handy place in which to pick up a ton of interesting clothing and accessories from homegrown Japanese labels and brands from overseas.
1 Chome-23-14 Aobadai, Meguro, Tokyo 153-0042
A Bathing Ape (BAPE) Flagship Store (Shibuya, Japan)
Whether you’re a fan of the legendary streetwear label or not, A Bathing Ape’s flagship store in Tokyo’s Shibuya district still deserves a place on every retail bucket list.
Part shop, part nightclub, this Planet of the BAPE is filled with futuristic light-up furnishings offset against simple marble floors and stark white fixtures that, for the most part, let the clothes do the talking.
3 Chome-29 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo
Incu (Melbourne, Australia)
Aussie menswear shops aren’t all just board shorts and flip-flops, as anyone who’s ever set foot in Melbourne’s ultra-hip Incu surely knows.
Established by twin brothers Brian and Vincent Wu in 2002, Incu’s mission was to bring high-end, international designers (think Maison Kitsuné from Paris and Baxter of California from, well, California) and homegrown labels like Weathered and Henry Wilson together under one trendy roof.
6a/274 Flinders Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000
Bastille Store (Cape Town, South Africa)
If you want to stand out from the crowd in sunny Cape Town, French concept store Bastille is where you need to visit to get kitted out.
Located in the city’s central business district, the focus here is firmly on casualwear with a range of basics perfectly suited to the South African coastline. For warm-weather clothing with an injection of Parisian cool, there’s no place better to take your hard-earned Rand.
30 Waterkant Street, Cape Town City Centre, Cape Town, 8001
Headquarter (Mexico City, Mexico)
Owned by local menswear guru Riccardo Campa, Headquarter specialises in cutting-edge streetwear from the hippest designers around the world.
But more than just a handsome space to sell cool stuff, the walls are also covered in work by contemporary Mexican artists, and there’s even an in-house barber stocked with top-of-the-range grooming products to take home.
Colima 244, Roma Nte, 06700 Ciudad de México, CDMX
Harrolds (Sydney, Australia)
Far from a knock-off of London’s Harrods, Harrolds (with an ‘L’) is a staple of the Aussie retail scene, having spent more than 30 years being a one-stop shop for stylish Sydneysiders.
Though rooted in classic menswear, Harrolds has become the exclusive home for luxury collections from the likes of Tom Ford, Saint Laurent and others. Stocked with items from over 70 different designers, its reputation as one of Oz’s top fashion destinations is well earned.
188 Pitt St, Sydney NSW 2000
Superette (Aukland, New Zealand)
With the thought of settling down into a nine to five making them nauseous, friends James Rigden and Rickie Dee decided to embark on a round-the-world trip, collecting all the things they fell in love with on the way and bringing them back to New Zealand to sell in a creative space.
From those humble beginnings, Superette was born, quickly becoming Aukland’s go-to spot for off-beat menswear and quirky lifestyle products.
282 Ponsonby Road, Ponsonby, Auckland 1011
La Plage (Santiago, Chile)
Opened in 2011 by a French-Chilean couple who wanted a place to bring together work by their favourite artists and designers, La Plage has fast become one of Santiago’s coolest hangouts.
Featuring a tightly curated selection of fashion, music, art and jewellery, it’s the perfect shop to complement the already vibrant South American city.
Avenue Italia 1449, Providencia, Ñuñoa, Región Metropolitana
Boutique 1 (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Positioning yourself as ‘the ultimate fashion and lifestyle destination’ in a city already overrun with luxury shopping spots is a bold move, but one that Dubai’s Boutique 1 has managed to pull off seamlessly.
Just down the road from Rolex and Burberry, this airy and brightly-lit multi-brand retail space showcases a mix of high-end fashion from the likes of Maison Margiela and JW Anderson, and contemporary staples from labels including Orlebar Brown and Common Projects.
Mall Of The Emirates Fashion Dome, Dubai 72999
Silver Deer (Mexico City, Mexico)
After spotting a gap in the market for a multi-brand menswear retailer, former investment banker Robert Hirsh focused his efforts of opening the doors of Silver Deer – a modern menswear boutique stocking a culturally informed mix of clothing, shoes, art and lifestyle goods.
Influenced by Scandinavian minimalism, Hirsh created a space in which to bring together some of the coolest global labels in a city where they hadn’t previously been available.
Avenue Javier Barros Sierra 540, Santa Fe, Zedec Sta Fé, 01219 Ciudad de México, CDMX
ALARA (Lagos, Nigeria)
Dedicated to art, culture and fashion, ALARA is an African-inspired concept store in the heart of Nigeria’s bustling capital city.
Meaning ‘wondrous performer’ in Yoruba, this place certainly lives up to its name, delivering some of the finest luxury goods from around the world to its wealthy Nigerian clientele in truly unique surroundings.
12a Akin Olugbade Street, Victoria Island, Lagos
Concepts (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
If you know anything about sneakers, then you’ll no doubt already be well acquainted with the Boston-born shoe store and regular footwear collaborator, Concepts.
The Dubai outpost may not be Concepts’ first location, but it is probably biggest and swankiest. Which means plenty of space for everything from streetwear to high-fashion and lots and lots (and lots) of sneakers.
39 Al Safa Street, City Walk 2, Dubai