Your complete guide to shopping in Istanbul
Turkey’s fashion industry has made its mark on the global stage by moving from behind the scenes as a manufacturing hub to the front of the stage as a leading world design center. This fact has, over the decades, made Turkey into a destination for shoppers from around the region. And as the capital of the country, Istanbul has blossomed into a colorful and dynamic fashion mecca.
Currently, the country has more than 59,000 fashion companies operating in the textile, footwear and apparel manufacturing sectors, which yearly produce over $65 billion worth of garments and fashion goods, according to Fashion United.
After vehicles, clothing is Turkeys’ most successful export product, which earned 9.4% of the country’s total exports, of them knitwear amounted to US$ 8.8bn (5.6% of total export), while exports of woven clothing reached US$6.0bn (3.8% of the total) in 2017, Textile Today reports.
According to 2016 World Trade Organization (WTO) data, the Turkish clothing industry is the 6th largest supplier in the world and the 3rd largest supplier to the EU.
Some of the largest companies fashion companies include Eroglu Group, Sanko Tekstil İşletmeleri, Gülsan Sentetik Dokuma, Korteks Mensucat, and Beyteks Tekstil.
Your prime destinations
With so much to offer in terms of shopping variety, from high end global and Turkish brands to more practical less expensive choices, Istanbul shopping streets have become icons for shopping pilgrims. Some people may put ‘shopping’ and ‘Istanbul’ together and think of the city’s Grand Bazaar with its narrow, maze-like streets and haggling shop owners. However, if the bazaar is not really your thing, then head for the boutiques and shops on the high streets of Istanbul to get your shopping fix.
Start your day early at İstiklal Caddesi, one of Istanbul’s main shopping streets, to avoid the daily crowds. The street runs from Taksim Square all the way to Tünel, where you will be able to find every brand imaginable, from local to international names. The streets many side alleys are interesting to investigate, especially if you are looking to indulge in some serious food, like the open-air market known as Beyoğlu Balık Pazarı. The historic red tramway that runs up and down the street is fun and will save you some walking.
Then you can move onto one of Istanbul’s coolest shopping streets, Serdar-ı Ekrem, a cobble-stoned street near the historic Galata Tower. Known for its small boutiques, both for fashion and rare antiques and souvenirs, Serdar-ı Ekrem attracts a particular type of customer looking for something special to shop. The Turkish designer Arzu Kaprol has his major showroom on the street along with beautiful antiques at Kashif Sofa.
For high fashion and exclusive global and Turkish brands, Abdi İpekçi Caddesi houses everything from Armani and Louis Vuitton to Prada. Turkish fashion brands also have a big following on the street with Vakko and Beymen shops that form a part of Turkey’s premier luxury brands. Located in the Nişantaşı neighborhood, which is known for its luxury shopping experience, İpekçi Caddesi is for shoppers with an expensive taste.
For more wallet-conscious shoppers, a street called Teşvikiye Caddesi very close to Abdi İpekçi Caddesi, where more moderately priced brands have their stores. Global boutiques such as Zara, Massimo Dutti, and Scotch & Soda, as well as Turkish brands such as Koton and Roman.
Travel to Istanbul’s Asian side, which is known to be quieter and less congested than its European side, find your way to Bağdat Caddesi street, which is the areas main shopping street. Lined with shopping malls and elegant luxury boutiques the 14-kilometer stretch is a great place to spend a day.
If a mall shopping experience is what you’re looking for, then Nispetiye Caddesi is the place for you. The street is very popular in Istanbul and known for shopping due to the 180,000 squared meter Akmerkez Mall, one of the largest shopping malls in the city. Located in the Beşiktaş district of Istanbul, in a neighborhood called Etiler, Akmerkez Mall is four floors with over 250 stores.
Finally, if you are looking for more authentic, locally produced goods, Nuruosmaniye Caddesi is famous in Istanbul and globally for its fine carpets, jewelry and antiques. Nuruosmaniye Caddesi is mostly a pedestrian street and leads up to the Grand Bazaar. The street is home to Armaggan, a huge seven-story store offering an impressive array of furniture, traditional crafts, locally sourced and produced art, textiles, and jewelry.