Luxury for Less
Top designer outlets around the world
Outlet shopping is no longer frowned upon and we all love to bring home a bargain, so Jana Timm has put together the best outlet centres worldwide that offer you top quality for less.
In recent decades, outlet shopping has become a mega-trend in the fashion world, and is popular with shoppers the world over (not just the Asian market), with designer labels becoming more accessible by the day. Outlet shopping could be for you if you have your own sense of style and can spot classics that will not go out of fashion in the blink of an eye. You will be proud of owning a piece of the luxury dream, especially if it costs you a fraction of what everyone else paid! There is definitely no better way to spend a luxurious weekend away with your girlfriends, than shopping for designer bargains in the likes of Milan, Paris or New York.
The outlet shopping concept originated when luxury brands became more accessible during the civil rights movement in the ‘60s that broke down the strict barrier of class structure reigning in the United States. Everything was suddenly possible and the American dream became one of wealth, increased spending power and endless possibilities. Social priorities moved away from old-fashioned values to modern materialism.
To begin with, luxury brands responded to the new demand by including lower priced products in their line. These items – such as scarves, perfumes and handbags – still conveyed the brand prestige but were affordable to everyone. The luxury brands came to be in the business of selling a dream and the middle market was buying into it fully. By the ‘80s the middle market was the main focus for many luxury brands and with the market for luxury growing day by day. The ideas of “new” collections were produced more frequently, creating a new problem of leftover stock. Initially, this was sold to discount chains or burnt but with substantial growth the amount of obsolete clothes became even bigger – due to products having a shorter lifespan in fashion – luxury brands had to come up with a better idea. This was the birth of outlet shopping, as we know it today.
Many brands originally flocked to Las Vegas – where lower real estate prices meant they were not taking a high risk in the event that the outlet concept failed. Quite the opposite happened and, according to Dana Thomas, accomplished author and writer for Paris Newsweek, Las Vegas became a very important market for luxury fashion business, offering brand exposure to a wider target market.
Desert Hills Premium Outlets is located in the desert near Palm Springs and was one of the pioneers in the concept of selling past luxury collections for less. The success of the concept soon became evident and many brands have since then added less expensive lines, produced especially for these types of stores.
Many people still think that shopping in outlet stores is frowned upon, but things have changed. The reality is quite the opposite and modern outlet centres offer you everything you would expect from designer shops. This retail phenomenon has crossed the pond to Europe, meaning you can now find an opportunity to buy luxury for less no matter where you go. Use your fashion sense of style and save money, because shopping for a bargain has become something to be proud of…
Whole of Europe
McArthurGlen Designer Outlets are the leading designer outlets in Europe, and offer 21 designer outlets in 8 different countries. No matter where your destination is, all offer high-end designer goods, including the big players such as Valentino, Gucci, Prada, Michael Kors, Armani, Hugo Boss and many more. www.mcarthurglen.com
Just a 50 minute drive away from Florence you will find Miuccia Prada´s designs from past seasons and can also grab some bargains from the Miu Miu line while you´re at it. The store goes by the name I Pellettieri d‘Italia or Lo Spaccio and is heaven for anyone who loves Prada at good bargain prices. The outlet can be reached by train, taxi (which you should book for both ways) or bus. www.prada.com
The Mall, Florence
This outlet mall offers you all the top luxury brands, such as Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Dior, Burberry and Valentino, situated just 30 minutes from Florence in the green countryside of beautiful Tuscany. This shopping experience is sure to be a unique one. There is a shuttle bus but you can also reach The Mall by train or taxi. www.themall.it
Foxtown Outlet Centre, Mendrisio
Combine your shopping pilgrimage to Italy with a visit to nearby Foxtown just on the boarder to Switzerland. From Dior to Jil Sander and Yves Saint Laurent you will find all the top designers under one roof, including our season´s favourite D&G.
La Vallée Village, Paris
For French shopping this outlet offers you ideal conditions of up to 60% off. Getting there is easy with the subway or the shuttle bus running daily from the city centre of Paris. For those who want a more luxurious outlet shopping experience, La Vallée also offers a limousine service and is situated just a half hour from Paris.
La Roca Village, Barcelona
La Roca Village is located outside of Barcelona and offers international as well as Spanish designer brands at discounted prices. Here you will find Adolfo Domínguez, Burberry, Coach, Loewe, Custo Barcelona, Tous, Escada, Juicy Couture and more. A special shopping express bus service is also available directly from Barcelona city.
The island also has a number of outlet centres on offer but, from personal experience, you may end up being a little disappointed as the merchandise rarely changes and turnover is low. Inca offers many leather specialists and you may find what you are looking for at the likes of Munper, Camper and Lottusse. Festival Park in Marratxi also offers designer clothing and shoes for less and is home to the El Corte Inglés outlet as well as the Nike factory store, Lloyds, Jaime Mascaro, Ray-Ban and Spanish designer brand Desigual. www.festivalpark.es
Bicester Village, Oxford
Between London and Birmingham lies this little piece of shoppers’ paradise that is considered the best in the UK by the top fashion magazines. More than 130 luxury brands chose this outlet village for their exclusive outlet stores. Here are just some of their names: Alexander McQueen, Temperly London and Matthew Williamson, DKNY and Vivienne Westwood.
Desert Hills Premium Outlets, Cabazon
As one of the pioneers of the outlet shopping experience this outlet offers you up to 75% off all important luxury brands. Situated an hour from Los Angeles and not far from Palm Springs you will find everything from D&G, Gucci and Jimmy Choo to Prada and Salvatore Ferragamo, Tod‘s and Versace. The high season is from October to March, so try to go outside these months to avoid the crowds.
Las Vegas Premium Outlet Stores
As one of 140 Premium Outlet stores, the Las Vegas location offers you DKNY, Coach, Guess, Michael Kors, Nike, Tommy Hilfiger and many more right in the heart of the famous gambling city. The Las Vegas Premium Outlet Stores is perfect for those who have got lucky at the slot machine and have a fortune or two to spend.
Woodbury Common, New York
If you are heading to New York City this year, a trip to Woodbury Common designer outlet is a must. Only 50 minutes from Manhattan and with more than 220 stores it will offer you a day of shopping for both established American brands as well as high-end fashion European brands for up to 60% less.
ASOS has been the place to find designer clothes for years, but now you can grab real vintage designer clothing and accessories from fashion enthusiasts all over the world. It is also an ideal place to get some fashion inspiration for your next shopping trip. www.marketplace.asos.com
eBay Fashion OutletFor those who would rather avoid travel stress and dressing room crowds the eBay Fashion Outlet is a perfect opportunity to do the seasonal shop online from the comfort of your home. Whether you´re looking for women´s fashion, handbags or shoes, eBay will deliver it right to your doorstep.