Turkey has a strong fashion scene, and is the birthplace of innovative trends and some breathtaking design, which is favoured not only by local fashionistas but increasingly by those in the know internationally. The fashion magazine Vogue launched satellite magazine Vogue Turkey five years ago, showing how in demand new trends are for the country.
And it’s not just new designers that the country is especially strong on. Traditional crafts like leatherwork produce some extremely high quality belts, bags and slippers, and whilst the colourful slippers usually stick close to their traditional design origins (which is generally no bad thing – they’re very pretty and come in some beautiful colours) bags and belts often appear in more contemporary designs. Look out for tailors in the bazaar, who will both offer tailor made items and make repairs.
As a rule of thumb, shopping in the markets and bazaars of Turkey will net you traditional crafts, and searching the independent boutiques will get you something more contemporary. Prices in boutiques are inevitably a little higher, and haggling is definitely not welcome here as it is elsewhere. There is usually a sign to say that prices are fixed, so even determined bargain hunters should take a break from bargaining.
The Antalya region of Turkey, which includes the towns of Lara, Kemer, Side, Belek and Alanya is especially rich in shopping opportunities, so if you come for the beaches, take an extra suitcase to bring back some clothes and homewares.
The exclusive boutiques are all to be found along Konyaalti street, Ataturk Street or Migros 5M (situated on the Konyaalti Beach side of town).
Several leather workshops in the region including Osmanlı Sultan Çarık (Hesapcı Sokak 3, tel +90 532 677 0642) will hand stitch slippers, sandals and shoes especially for you. There are beautiful jewellery workshops here too. They often make jewellery to order, and you can bring a picture of some jewellery that you like, or an odd earring and have its mate recreated for you. The workshops will also undertake small repair jobs for free, so if your silver chain snaps, take it to someone who looks friendly and they will probably fix it. Estanbul Art Gold (Zafer Sokak 23, tel +90 247 2023) offers unique, high-quality handmade jewellery that is worth travelling for.
The MMM Migros mall also has boutiques, alongside international fashion shops and various cafes, hairdressers, and bookshops. With 130 shops in one place, it’s a popular destination.
You should note that you are not allowed to take tea, coffee, tobacco or any kind of antiques out of the country. Antiques are defined as anything over 100 years old, so if you go carpet shopping or buy anything that looks old, ask the salesperson for a certificate stating its age.