Thursday, September 26, 2013

Window shopping in Europe - Switzerland

Let's talk fashion - yay! Last Sunday Boyfriend arrived back from a trip to the States and brought me a copy of the American edition of In Style. Almost 500 pages loaded with the latest trends from overseas, many ads from fashion labels I did not recognize and a word or two that caught my non-native English eye more used to reading British English. I've always enjoyed comparing fashion trends from different countries and whenever I go on a city break I usually take half a day to do some window shopping on the local high street, hoping to find some unique pieces from shops unknown to me back at home. However, it is true that in this internet-connected world of global brands, most shopping streets are looking more and more the same.

At least in Europe, you're very likely to come across the same shops and be able to recognize at least half of the names you see, whether you find yourself in Spain, the Netherlands or Switzerland. But it may not be the same in other parts of the world - as the American In Style proved to me - and there are of course differences among countries. Today I've decided to talk about the typical shopping street in Europe and what you might find in Switzerland. Ready? Then take a seat, the virtual shopping tour is about to start!

As I already said, most shopping streets in Europe are looking very similar to each other and three countries are to blame for that:

The UK high street: it's taken them a while to settle down in continental Europe - probably because the UK maintains its very own currency, which is much stronger than the euro - but many beloved British names, such as New Look, River Island, Accesorize, Topshop and more recently Primark, have become a common sight in many other countries in continental Europe.

Scandinavian design: ok, this is not a single country but four of them - or five if we add Iceland to the group - but as people generally refer to Scandinavian design as a whole, I'll keep them together. Sweden is home to one of the biggest players in the global fashion world, H&M, and Denmark also plays hard in Europe with Vero Moda, ONLY, Pieces and Vila, all of them part of the Bestseller group.

The Spanish fashion miracle: Spain's richest man and the world's fourth is the owner of fashion empire Inditex. If that name doesn't ring a bell, think of Zara, Bershka, Pull&Bear or Massimo Dutti, among others, all property of Inditex. But Spain's success in the fashion industry goes further than Zara and her little sisters and other big names include Mango, Springfield or Women's Secret.

Many other European countries usually have a single strong player with shops spread all over the European fashion map. Italy has made its chic affordable thanks to famous Benetton, Promod spreads la France unique style throughout the continent, The Netherlands exports budget fashion via C&A, while Germany does the same with upbeat New Yorker. Another big name in Europe is Esprit, which I thought to be German but it actuallyhas its roots in the US. And a final global player which is making an appearance in most European countries is Superdry, also from the UK.

And what do we have in Switzerland? Scandinavian retailers rule the market with H&M celebrating 35 years since they first opened a shop in Switzerland a Vero Moda and ONLY present in most Swiss cities. Spanish brands are slowly making their way on the Swiss market with Zara and Mango shops in most important cities and some other brands in selected cities, like Massimo Dutti in Geneve and Springfield in Sion. British retailers are nowhere to be seen - at least I don't think I've ever seen any of them. Esprit is also very popular around here and New Yorker, C&A are some of the most affordable options, together with H&M. Switzerland also has its own fashion brands, Tally Weijl and Charles Vögele. Tally Weijl is very popular among the youngsters and does cheap-looking trendy clothes for a cheap price (a bit à la Bershka).

There are many other fashion labels which you might find in almost every shopping street in Switzerland. This is by no means an extensive list but I think it is quite representative, especially with regard to affordable options. More pricey labels such as Caroll, Kookaï, Wolford or Navy Boot are very favoured by stylish Swiss women and of course, luxe retailers like Luois Vuitton, Cartier or Longchamps are popular options for that special buy destined to last a lifetime. But until the day I can afford my own LV Artsy bag, chances are you'll find me in H&M, Vero Moda, Mango or even Esprit during the sale months.

I hope you enjoy this fashion European tour, maybe one day I'll be able to write the American counterpart. 
Which are your favourite shops? Anything I've missed and should know about?
Have a lovely Thursday!


  1. Hola Irene!Cómo me gusta hacer "escarating"! hay algunos tan bien hechos... como un mundo de fantasía. No tenía ni idea de que New Yorker fuera una marca alemana, pensé que era inglesa.Mi favorita de todas todas es Mango pero también Zara todas las del grupo, claro.Bss, wapa:)

    1. Síiii, a mí tb me encanta mirar los escaparates, sobre todo los de otoño/invierno y cuando se acerca la navidad :) Algunos son pequeñas obras de arte jejeje
      Mango tb se está convirtiendo en mi gran favorita y Zara tb me gusta, aunque no compro tanto ahí. Pull&Bear tb me suele gustar bastante, aunque ahora sólo la veo cuando estoy de vacaciones por Tenerife. Y lo mismo me pasa con Springfield!

  2. Irene this was a fabulous post doll. I learned so much. I recognized some of the store names and will look up the other ones. I love learning about what other countries have. HAHA About the InStyle magazine. It's already a thick magazine and lately it seems to be even thicker. I love InStyle! They tell you everything. Again, great post. Learned a lot! ((hug))

    1. hehe I'm so glad you enjoyed it, Kim! I also like learning about what I can find in other countries and I'm really liking the InStyle magazine lately - especially the German edition, which is the one I've started buying recently :)

  3. It's very interesting to know the available fashion brands per country. I'm glad to have recently discovered Vero Moda here in the UAE. I also frequently visit Zara, Mango and Stradivarius. Great post, Irene.

    1. I'm actually curious about what you have in the UAE, though it seems that many shops are the same! I discovered Vero Moda only a couple of years ago, when I first moved to Switzerland, and I really, really like it. They have such feminine dressesand tops :)

  4. Enjoyed your post! I like to go window shopping! I think my favorite stores to shop at are Zara, Lush and H&M.

  5. I love this! H&M is so popular in the US. Europe has some seriously great brands.


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