Vietnam’s northern city Hanoi harbours couture aspirations, and style watchers are taking note.
In recent years, Hanoi has attracted a growing stream of fashion-conscious visitors, who scour the city in search of runway-worthy apparel that packs its punch in heritage chic.
“People are looking for something unique,” revealed Vietnamese designer Thao Vu in a Harper’s Bazaar feature. “Value is not superficial; it’s the culture behind it, the story behind it, the people behind it, the environmental issues behind it.”
Read on for our guide to shopping in Hanoi, the Indochinese capital city where style meets soul.
1. DEVON LONDON
In February this year, Devon Nguyen became the first Vietnamese ready-to-wear designer to present a collection at the prestigious Paris Fashion Week.
With her brand DEVON LONDON (available in London and Hanoi), Nguyen flaunts her playfully rebellious edge with sharp tailoring, striking digital prints, and unique embroidery details. Her mission: empowering women to create their own definitions of femininity and identity.
Address: 58 Tho Nhuom, Hoan Kiem district (see on map)
Monday to Saturday: 9:00am to 9:00pm
Sunday: 10:00am to 9:00pm
Kilomet109’s apparels are modern and minimalistic, yet replete with cultural meaning.
A proponent of ethical fashion, designer Thao Vu sought out women from different ethnic groups in Vietnam to learn how to make her own fabrics and dyes for Kilomet109. Apart from embracing age-old production methods, Thao also takes her cue from Vietnamese traditional wear.
“A lot of people look upon ethical or sustainable fashion as boring. They think it’s only earth tones, nothing exciting. But that’s not true. There’s so much out there to try,” said Thao in an interview with Vice.com.
Address: Module 7 showroom, 83 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho district (see on map)
Opening hours: 9:00am to 7:00pm (Monday to Saturday)
3. An Store
An Store is the brainchild of Mai Phuong, an interior designer turned “fashionpreneur.” This self-taught artist believes in going back to basics—with a focus on natural materials and handmade products—and draws inspiration from architecture and Japanese design.
Expect to find flowy boho-chic wearables and quality leather bags said to be comparable to their Italian counterparts. Little wonder then for this store’s popularity with creative professionals and free-spirited travellers.
Address: 8 Ly Dao Thanh, Hoan Kiem district (see on map)
Opening hours: 9:00am to 9:00pm daily
At the heart of Chula‘s success is an unlikely pairing of Asian restraint with Spanish flamboyance. Founded by Spanish lovebirds Diego Cortizas and Laura Fontan, Chula is a labour of love with serendipitous beginnings.
As Fontan tells it: “We came to Vietnam to stay a while and do something creative, maybe design furniture, but once here, we fell in love with the fabrics and Diego began to pen some beautiful designs.”
The couple define Chula’s style as “wearable happiness,” and they are also committed to running Chula as a social enterprise—three quarters of their team is differently abled. “We are now one big family,” says Fontan.
Address: 43 Nhat Chieu, Tay Ho district (see on map)
Opening hours: 9:00am to 6:00pm daily
5. Claret Giang Le
To up-and-coming designer Claret Giang Le, fashion is a blank canvas for artistic expression.
Her inaugural collection, showcased at Hanoi’s International Fashion Week last November, paid tribute to minimalist artist Frank Stella with brazen patterns and bold silhouettes. For those who relish being ahead of the trend: industry insiders have singled her out as one to watch.
Address: 19 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem district (see on map)
Opening hours: 9:00am to 10:00pm daily
For more fun activities after you hit up these shopping spots in Hanoi, discover five cafes that you should not miss during your Hanoi holidays. Our Pan Pacific Hanoi team is also on hand to advise you on other unique things to do in Hanoi.