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5 reasons Hong Kong shopping is better than ever
Even the vending machines are chic! Here's the why and how on laying your claim to Asia's best shopping city
Hong Kong has the best shops in Asia.
Though I'm a native of the city, I'm not biased -- it's statistically proven.
In Global Blue's first "Global Shopper Index" for the Asia Pacific region, Hong Kong bested other major cities including Shanghai, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, to top the list as the city with the best shopping.
Next time you're in town, check out the following places and reasons why the service, setting and stuff on sale in Hong Kong are all worth bragging about.
1. Money buys cool - LAB Concept
To bump bags with Hong Kong's funky fashionistas, step inside LAB Concept.
The art-meets-fashion emporium is a showcase of Hong Kong's fashion forward prowess.
A young and edgy list of coveted international brands can be found in the more than 6,000 square meters of space, with special sections for beauty and shoes.
Expect Dot-Drop luggage, Amika haircare, Alice and Olivia and Scotch & Soda. Beauty consultants not affiliated with brands are available for skin-care consultations that involve no hard-selling.
Other high-end Hong Kong shopping experiences can be had at Lane Crawford, JOYCE and I.T.
LAB is at Queensway Plaza, Admiralty www.labconcepthk.com
Lane Crawford, see all store locations at www.lanecrawford.com
JOYCE, see all store locations at www.joyce.com
I.T., see all store locations at www.ithk.com
Also on CNN: Best Hong Kong souvenirs and where to get them
2. Custom tailoring has come full circle - The Armoury, Moustache
Hong Kong was once full of expert Shanghainese tailors who could do a quick turnaround on decent suits.
These days, the masters have retired and people don't appreciate custom tailoring as much when they can pick up fast fashion.
A handful of boutiques are bucking the trend, bringing back custom tailoring to Hong Kong for a new generation of the sartorially-obsessed.
The Armoury is exemplary with its tightly curated range of mostly European menswear and accessories. Come here for the suit with the perfect fit or that pair of boardroom-appropriate-yet-eye-catching cuff links.
Everything about The Armoury is classic and grown up, from its location in the elegant colonial-era Pedder Building to its selection of Fox Umbrellas with whangee handles. See co-founder Alan See's website for their Euro-dandy-in-Asia feel.
For its custom tailor partnership, The Armoury works with WW Chan, a reputable Hong Kong tailor, as well as European stitchers. Prices begin at US$1,300.
Alternatively, there's Moustache, a small tailoring shop in Soho that specializes in flattering cuts with idiosyncratic details personalized to each customer.
3. Chic Cathay clichés abound - Shanghai Tang
Traditional Chinese clothing is borderline costume, but some places get it right and offer all the beauty and quality of traditional design without turning us into a Halloween disaster.
Shanghai Tang is the ambassador of modern Chinese chic. Founded in Hong Kong in 1994, the brand is known for its use of bright colors and Chinese silhouettes.
It's flamboyant but wearable, and unmistakably Chinese.
The three-story flagship store in Hong Kong is a mansion of old China aesthetics brought into the 21st century. The shop also offers custom tailoring service and a range of homeware.
If Shanghai Tang is a little too bold, there's Fang Fong, where the Chinese touches are subtle.
Hong Kong-bred Wu Lai-fan also does custom tailoring at her shops.
You can always go all the way and throw back to the 1950s with a full-on cheongsam made at Linva. The tailors reputedly dressed Maggie Cheung in her iconic dresses in Wong Kar-wai's "In the Mood for Love."
Shanghai Tang Hong Kong flagship, 1 Duddell St., Central, +852 +852 2525 7333, www.shanghaitang.com
Fang Fong, 69A Peel St., Central, +852 3105 5557; B3, 160 Electric Road, North Point, +852 2857 2057, www.facebook.com
Linva, 38 Cochrane St., Central, +852 2544 2456
4. Hong Kong's indie crowd has its own shop - Daydream Nation
Daydream Nation is the place to see the work of up-and-coming local designers and getting a feel for Hong Kong's indie culture.
The fashion label has adopted the second floor of the Hong Kong Arts Centre as its home, transforming it with circus-themed props and decor.
The clothes are whimsical, slightly theatrical, the accessories are trend-setting and statement-making -- last year's grand feather collars are a fab example.
Daydream Nation also sell their friends' creations at the shop, and their friends are all of Hong Kong's hot young creatives. Look out for leather goods from Fungus Workshop, ZOEE accessories, bags by Hoiming and a selection of albums from Hong Kong's best indie bands.
Parties and art events are an expected by-product of this indie hub. The Daydream Nation Facebook page has details on upcoming events.
Other shops where you can find edgy Hong Kong design include Voulez Vous, Triple Major and Heaven Please.
Daydream Nation, 2/F, Hong Kong Arts Centre, 2 Harbour Road, Wanchai, HK +852 2817 6313 www.daydream-nation.com
Voulez Vous, 26 Yiu Wah St., Causeway Bay, +852 2806 2616
Triple-Major Habitat @ Signed-by, 43 Tung St., Sheung Wan www.triple-major.com
Heaven Please, 2B Po Foo Building, 1 Foo Ming St., Causeway Bay +852 2311 9533 Heaven Please on Facebook
5. Curated craftsmanship is hot - Kapok
The brains behind the curated collection at Kapok is Arnault Castel, a Frenchman with impeccable taste. His boutiques bring the world's fashion-insider labels to our doorstep.
Castel falls in love with the best (but not necessarily best known) fashion, accessories and publications, then brings them to his Hong Kong stores. The shops are filled with products that emphasize craftsmanship, quality and creativity.
Items come from everywhere -- Denmark to the United States to our own backyard.
The latest products are Marie Turnor clutches, Junghans watches and Miansai bracelets.
Kapok also collaborates with designers on products, such as the Makr Carry Goods rucksack.
The two shops are located in the Star Street neighborhood, a solid place for food, fashion and people watching.
Its neighbors include the Monocle shop, Club Monaco's menswear boutique (the world's third) and Wudai-Shiguo.
Kapok, 5 St. Francis Yard, Wanchai, +852 2549 9254; 3 Sun St., Wanchai, +852 2520 0114, www.ka-pok.com
Did we miss your favorite boutique, atelier or designer label emporium? Let us know in the comments below.