I can’t go to a new city witout checking out the shopping! Once I found out I was going to Istanbul, I searched the top things to do there and shopping was way up there. I started searching for the best boutiques in Istanbul and to be honest, was coming up short. I wrote down about 10 that I wanted to check out and knew I’d want to look at the Grand Bazaar as well.
The problem was, I wasn’t familiar with Istanbul and didn’t know which area all these shops were in. I figured once I got there I could dot them all out on a map and see which ones were near each other.
Once the World Tourism Forum started (the reason I first went to Istanbul) I was introduces to Eda, a young chic who runs Istanbulite a luxury tour company in Istanbul. She does bespoke tours in the city (even for celebs sometimes!) She asked if I was up for one and immediately I was like, “yes! a shopping tour! Not one for tourist stuff though… I want to go to the local trendy designers and see what Turkish girls are wearing”. I emailed her my list that night and she said she’d look into the ones I sent and combine with her favorites and make a plan.
BEST boutiques in Istanbul
The tour was absolutely fabulous; I just wish I had more time (but I showed up late, which is very unlike me!). Eda literally knew every shop owner, every salesperson, and just random people on the street. You could tell she knew the fashion scene in Istanbul like the back of her hand. We started with the boutique shops in Galata and Karakoy, then headed to Serdar Ekrem Road. Next, we went into the Grand Bazaar. I’ll also mention a couple shops I found on my own.
This little shop was full of cute things, like most Istanbul shops, which doesn’t make it easy on us! I nearly bought my mom a gold necklace (but got her a magnet instead… I feel like I really let her down there lol). The jewelry was all handmade by her and I was soon to find out it wasn’t unusual that they had a little cafe inside, as most shops either had a cafe or went next door to bring their customers tea.
Fashion at Eye
This is a shop I had requested after seeing the designers two-toned sunnies on Instgram. He also carried loads of varieties of vintage glasses. I had actually just bought Ben a pair of Raybans and was feeling like hmm, I can’t really afford to be buying another pair of glasses!
Kagithane Houseofpaper Kemankes Caddesi, Fransiz is Gecidi No: 10 Karakoy 34425. +90 212 244 15 83.
Right next door to Fashion at Eye was this little paper shop. It wasn’t on our list, but I thought I might as well take a quick peak. Weirdly, I ended up buying wrapping paper with faces of cats all over it. I have no idea why… but I loved the cats in Istanbul, Ben loves our cat, and so I thought I could wrap his birthday Raybans up in it!
Aphorm Serder- Ekrem Cad. no. 33c Kuledibi 34421 beyoglu. +90 212 293 0217
There were a number of different designers inside this shop. It was mostly jewelry. Really really cool unique jewelry. I felt like very piece was like the when you see someone wearing a ring and you’re like Oh where did you get that?! here… I feel like every cute thing came from this shop lol.
Serdar Ekrem Sk. Seraskerci Cikmazi No:55, Galata. +90 212 245 32 55. Email email@example.com
Atelier was on my list, but it’s one Eda would have taken me to anyways because it’s quite well known and popular in town. They carry international brands like For Love and Lemons (love their stuff!), their own brand, and local designers. There were some funky things in there but nothing that really stood out to purchase. I think it was more dresses for partying and such than every day clothes.
Sofa Art & Antiques
Right next door to Atelier is Sofa, which is the most famous art collector and dealer in Istanbul. They stock up the most famous hotels and houses in the country. People really come all the way here to look at her and her husbands collection as their main purpose. Some art was surprisingly affordable and the paintings of the city would make a great souvenir. The owner is a hoot!
This is one of the top high end designers in Istanbul. It was very fancy. The dresses had exquisite thick beaded details, and the textiles were just stunning. Sadly, nothing I could afford. Eda said that if you go to a wedding in Istanbul, this is the type of dresses people will be wearing. I wasn’t too surprised remembering what the women had on at the Kempenski Gala just a few nights before (gowns and fur coats!).
I found this shop randomly while walking near the W hotel. The things inside were really cute and if I had a house I would have definitely picked up a few things. It was also very pricey… but I found out everything in the boutiques here seemed to be!
Istanbulden Sair Nedim Cad. No: 27/B Besiktas- Istanbul +90 212 259 47 49
This little (and I mean little) shop was just outside the W hotel in a very fancy area of town. They carried the same type of robes and towels you’d see in the market. I would say if you’re in the area anyways, it is worth having a stop in. It’s not the best prices but if you don’t have time to go to the market it could be your only option.
There were a few more that Eda wanted to take me to, which leaves me something to check out next time I’m in Istanbul. They were:
Serdar-ı Ekrem – Serasker Çıkmazı No.5
She’s known for quirky colorful clothing and has made a name for herself as a top designer.
Serdar-ı Ekrem no.17
Maçka Talim Yeri Sok. 8/1 Maçka
Their material is silk and they do non-princessy, romantic style wedding dresses and nightwear. You can check out their Instagram: @niquieofficial if you’re in the market for a wedding dress!
Nişantaşı – Hacı Efendi Sokak
This shop is considered for the “creative crowd” and is full of local designers. You can check out their Facebook page to see photos.
Citys ve Abdi İpekçi
This is the sub-brand of Gizia. They showcase local designers’ luxurious outfits. “GIZIA GATE is a 1,500 square meter multibrand concept store opened by established Turkish fashion brand Gizia in September 2015. Curated under the creative direction of Ceyda Balaban, the store displays luxury design products offered to customers through a VIP service.” – The Istanbul Guide
This is a popular place that’s been around a while. A luxury boutique with trendy clothing by Banu Bora and homewares and furniture by her husband. This is one Eda wanted to take me to.
Halil Paşa Yalısı Apt. No:3 D:3 Arnavutköy, 34345 Beşiktaş/İstanbul
Stage costumes and luxurious nightwear with intricate designs.
Gazeteciler Sitesi, Hare Sok No.22
Arasta Çarşısı 125 ve 135
This is really popular and used to be in Galata but has moved to the Old City.
Best Shops in the Grand Bazaar
If you want to get pashmina and cashmere shawls while here, this is the shop that Eda recommends as the best. Because there are probably a hundred similar ones in the market, it was really good to have Eda to help me find the best shops within the market who offer fair prices and quality goods.
Kopuk Pestemal Sabun
This is where I spent most my dough. I bought two simple Turkish towels, two fancier Turkish towels, and a robe made with their famous material. I almost bought the hamam soap too but I really don’t need soap and had to draw the line somewhere. The girl gave me great discounts.
This is a higher quality towel and robe shop. It offers similar goods at a higher price- but I am assured by Eda that his stuff is worth it. It’s a higher quality of textile. Everything was very cute but not in my price range sadly.
This is the most famous Turkish carpet shop there is! If you want a good price from a nice man then come here. This guy was really patient with me while I picked out 4 vintage carpet turned pillow covers. He also gave me a 10 tl discount on each one.
Yazzma / Dhoku /Ethicon
If you’re into the whole Turkish carpet thing, but want something a little more modern… this is the place for you. It’s actually a couple shops just near each other and there are hundreds of incredible carpets (some that cost 10,000 USD!). They look like they’ve been painted on and are made from silk and velvet. Seriously amazing work being done!
I love this store! This is where you can buy ikat and velvet pillows. I mentioned I went to the exclusive Soho House one night… they decorated with this shops Ikat. I think Ibrahim Pasha Hotel, where I stayed, did too. I got a pillow case and two little clutches which I love so much! I gave one to a friend, and the other I use to keep my phone away from sand in my beach bag.
The Bazaar closed before we could visit all Eda’s favorites. There were a few more on the list like:
Older textiles like ikat and suzani, vintage style.
The best leather shop in town. I am SO bummed I missed this one! I will literally have to use my own guide next time I’m back in Istanbul to remember which shops I didn’t make it to. “The quality of their work has often been compared to labels like Dolce & Gabbana and Armani.” –Istanbul Guide
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