In an ode to the beginning of a new decade, we’re going back to where it all started for us at AISPI, albeit with a brand new list of the coolest designers that will have you make a beeline for the city of diamonds in a jiffy. Home to some of the most talented brands of Europe, Antwerp is a must visit to experience the best of local European fashion and serves as a constant inspiration for us to continue bringing to you the best of the local savoir faire that Europe has to offer.
Theo Somers Optiek
Candy toned eyewear that makes you go weak in the knees? Count us in! Theo Somers Optiek is a designer eyewear brand from Antwerp – think the coolest of styles in the freshest of colors and for everyone in the family. If you’re looking for an upgrade to your plain old sunglasses or need a new pair of reading glasses, drop in at Theo Somers Optiek on your next trip to Antwerp.
We’re absolute suckers for this ultra cool footwear brand – born out of a father’s wish to custom make the perfect pair of shoes for his daughter. The NOË store is a shoe lover’s paradise; with a delicious edit rendered in over 88 (!) colors and made from butter soft leather, the brand will leave you feeling absolutely spoilt for choice. Brownie points for their customization service, just in case their in-store options weren’t enough for you.
One of the very first boutique stores that we had the utmost joy of discovering, Façon Jacmin is the brainchild of two siblings who had a burgeoning passion for design and business. The resulting idea led to the launch of the brand in a truck on the streets of Antwerp, ensuring enough eyeballs and accolades to help them secure a showroom and the Rising Talent prize at the Belgian Fashion Awards. The all-denim edit that Façon Jacmin offers is based on a solid foundation of sustainability, versatility and timeless design and is ethically sourced from Japan, enough reason to pay a visit to the store the next time you are in Antwerp.
Tired of looking for the perfect leather bag that accommodates all your essentials, looks great and is worth the buck? Your search ends at Kaai Designs – makers of the finest leather handbags for the modern women on the go. Founders Ine Verhaert and Helga Meersmans, along with their team of talented craftsmen work passionately to create the perfect leather handbag. One that encompasses functionality and aesthetics in equal measure. All of KAAI’s products are proudly designed in Antwerp and embody the best of what the local fashion talent of the city has to offer.
Graan Markt 13
One of the city’s best kept secrets, Graan Markt 13 is a townhouse converted into a store, restaurant and an apartment, with delightful surprises awaiting visitors in every nook and cranny. Founded by Ilse Cornelissens and Tim Van Geloven, the store is an interesting amalgamation of upcoming brands and designers shining in the spotlight in equal fervour with the big names of the industry. Every piece in the store is handpicked by Ilse and Tim and is carefully curated from the duo’s extensive travels. Expect to find designers from Mansur Gavriel to Susanna Kaufmann at the store that spans two stories and don’t forget to pay a visit to the restaurant and apartment that is located in the same building and done up in the same classical style that is unique to Graan Markt 13.
All images are courtesy of the respective brands.
– Written by Soha Joshi