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According to the New York Times, Antwerp is an underrated fashion paradise. “A place where one finds corners or unusual idiosyncrasy and surprise,” the newspaper said. We asked some local fashionistas about the ins and outs.

Who is Tiany Kiriloff?
Stylist, blogger, TV presenter and editor. Designer of her own capsule collection at Vero Moda and author of the book “Kirilove”. Tiany Kiriloff is a thoroughbred fashionista. In her (Dutch-language) TV appearances, she speaks about new neighbourhoods, shops and brands, and talks to designers and trendsetters. On Belmodo.tv, her own online fashion magazine, she presents fashion finds along with two of her fellow bloggers.
“Lots of fashion, very close together”

What is your relationship with Antwerp?
“I don’t live in Antwerp, but my life has been centred here for over twenty years. Ever since I was thirteen and I moved from Venezuela to Belgium, I have spent my days here. I used to go to school in Antwerp, now I work there.
I know Antwerp inside out. I have walked round all the shops and boutiques, shot a lot of reports and gone to a lot of parties there.” “As a fashion editor and blogger, I think it is very important to do field research, to pound the streets. There is a lot on the internet, but if you sit in the office all day, you don’t learn anything. Meanwhile I have a sort of Sixth Sense about talent spotting. Usually it starts with a sort of spark, a little discovery, and then I follow that line of investigation. I see someone walk by, go into a new store or hear things from a designer. Sometimes I am very impressed by someone at a Fashion Academy show and then I follow that lead. Then you soon see how that person develops.”

Many international magazines are singing the praises of Antwerp as a fashion city. Are they right?
“Absolutely, although Antwerp is a rather atypical city. It has a compact centre and is actually more like a village. The sheer scale is not comparable to traditional fashion cities. Paris or London are huge by comparison. Antwerp is very much a city in a nutshell. You will find everything, or almost, in a very small area. Almost all the good shops are within walking distance of each other.”
“In terms of brands too, Antwerp is a real melting pot. The arrival of some retail concepts has expanded the range of brands available enormously in recent years. High-end concept stores like Ra 13 and multibrand stores like Renaissance bring together international talent under one roof. You’ll find a unique selection of brands exclusive to Belgium.

” Which are the streets to watch?
“Things are always changing in Nationalestraat. New retail concepts are popping up, although some disappear just as fast. The same applies to Steenhouwersvest, a shopping street between the famous pedestrian tunnel and the Friday Market. Here too, shops change quite regularly. Most businesses are fairly recent. In Antwerpen Noord, near Dam, a lot is going on these days. New businesses are springing up like mushrooms. There is an entrepreneurial vibe, you see creativity just bubbling away everywhere. In fine weather many young families go out for a walk in the vast Park Spoor Noord. I enjoy spending time there myself. In that area, you’ll find original restaurants like De Caravan, at Damplein 17, but actually it’s all really nice. It strikes me as a difficult area for independent retailers though. Making a living out of a small shop here can’t be easy. There is not really enough footfall. You will find a lot of pop-up shops there. Every time you come here, something has changed.”

Tiany’s hotspots
Fashion: Graanmarkt 13 (Graanmarkt 13)
Designer heels: Coccodrillo (Schuttershofstraat 9)
Vintage: Viar (Kloosterstraat 65) Flowers: Baltimore (Augustijnenstraat 35)
Beauty goodies: Cosmeticary (Nieuwe Gaanderij, Huidevetterstraat 38)
Perfume: Officine Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella (Augustijnenstraat 39)
Rummage sale: in Zurenborg, in Cogels Osylei, Tramplein and Draakplaats
Latte: Vitrin (Marnixplaats 12) or Cafématic (Vleminckveld 4)
Pastrami sandwich: Caffè Internazionale (Volkstraat 21)
Hamburgers: De Burgerij (Tramplein 2) or Wattman (Tramplein 3)
Cocktails: Café Homey (Sint Paulusplaats 24)
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