As a niche market, fashion tourism has been on a rapid development across the globe, especially in countries that already have a recognizable presence in the fashion world and regularly host world-known fashion events.
The idea with this type of tourism is to provide an experience focused on fashion and usually shopping. It still is a form of cultural tourism, one gets to meet the local customs, tradition, but in a way that is more engaging for the travelers. Usually, travelers who choose fashion tourism are people interested in fashion themselves. They are creative, they follow current trends, and they enjoy shopping.
In fact, shopping is a special form of fashion tourism that promotes specific locations and places as a shopping paradise. It is not easy to reach such fame on the global level and encourage the visitors from across the globe to travel with the purpose of shopping, but it can be done, and shopping malls and wholesale retailers have statistics that prove this. Millions of visitors go through these shopping destinations, and a significant percentage of those are travelers.
When it comes to traveling Madrid, those interested in fashion and Madrid high fashion tourism will not be disappointed.
Costume Museum (El Museo del Traje) Madrid
The first destination we would like to suggest is Madrid’s Costume Museum (in Spanish El Museo del Traje). It is the perfect way to see the entire evolution of fashion and costumes dating from the ancient times to present. It is an impressive fashion experience and an opportunity to see how the trends changed throughout the history. The collection is extensive and offers a lot of diversity. Items include traditional and contemporary clothing from different periods, jewelry, accessories and traditional clothing that represents valuable cultural heritage. General admission fee is 3 euros but on some occasions or some groups of people do not pay admission.
Location: Avenida de Juan de Herrera, 2
If you are staying in an apartment in the center of Madrid, you will easily get public transport to reach this destination. Even though it is not in the central district of the city, there are plenty of ways to get to the museum using public transport.
Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday 9:30 am – 7:00 pm
Sunday and Festivals/Holidays 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Fashion in Madrid
To understand the reasons for visiting Madrid as a fashion tourism destination, you need a little bit of context as to what makes this city so special and what it has to offer to the travelers looking for this kind of travel.
The textile industry has been an important part of the Spanish economy for a long time, and it grew so much in the latest decades that introduced brands that slowly became recognizable and famous worldwide. Just take a TV show Sex and City as an example, and you will instantly remember Carrie Bradshaw and her obsession with shoes. Well, little did you know that her favorite shoes actually come from Spain. Manolo Blahnik is a Spanish designer and a brand that has gained great respect and popularity in the fashion world. If you think of high-end fashion, this will probably be one of the brands you would think of. Other luxury, high-end brands from Spain include Delpozo, Loewe, Uterqüe, etc.
As opposed to these brands, we have high-street fashion which offers much affordable clothing. Most of these brands work with a mission to offer quality at reasonable prices. That attitude alongside opening new stores around the world and appealing to the young audience has contributed to the popularity of these brands. Perhaps the most famous one is Zara. The brand is owned by a company Inditex, which has several other clothing brands such as Pull&Bear, Massimo Dutti, Oysho, etc. Other high-street brands from Spain include Mango, Bershka, Stradivarius, Desigual, etc.
Madrid Fashion Week
Perhaps the most anticipated and talked about event among those interested in high-end fashion in Madrid is the Madrid Fashion Week. Fashion Week in Madrid is organized by the IFEMA – Feria de Madrid Exhibition Centre, usually at the beginning of the year. This year’s show was organized in February, for the 65th time with 42 creators from Spain and over 50,000 visitors and professionals who were reporting about the event. It is a multicultural event attracting people from all over the world all in the purpose of fashion and creativity expressed through clothing and accessories.
The area to shop in Madrid
Now you must be wondering where to shop in Madrid. Knowing that Madrid fashion is certainly a segment you need to explore, you are probably thinking of how to organize a fashion tour or, simply put, go on a shopping spree in Madrid.
Your first stop should be the Gran Via street.
Gran Via Street in Madrid
As one of the best-known streets in Madrid, two main things distinguish this street from the rest. Firstly, it is the architecture that brings the combination of history and tradition, with a blend of modern style evolved during the beginning of the 20th century. The second thing the street is known for is shopping. It is the go-to destination for shopping lovers and those fond of fashion. There are plenty of high-street shops, especially the Spanish brands we have mentioned, such as Zara, Pull & Bear, etc. The Spanish department store, El Corte Ingles, is also in the area. Still, this part of the city is considered quite a prestigious part of Madrid, which is also the main reason why this is the place to find some of the high-end stores, including numerous foreign designers. Besides clothing, you can find a lot of jewelry and souvenir stores.
Here is another part of the city which is an excellent location to visit if you love fashion and shopping. This is a pretty exclusive district, so you will find prestigious restaurants, luxurious accommodation and, of course, a lot of high-end shops in Madrid. This reputation of Salamanca is why some commonly called this part of the city shopping district. When you visit this part of the city, you will need to visit these three streets: the Calle José Ortega y Gasset, the Calle de Serrano, and the Calle de Goya. All three of them are packed with shops one after the other, featuring both national and international labels. From home decor, beauty and fashion offered in El Corte Ingles, to Gucci, Hugo Boss, to local fashion specialist such as La Perla, Loewe, to watches specialist at Rabat, you will find such a wide selection of fashion items.
Regarding opening hours, it is worth mentioning that stores in Madrid usually open at 10 am and remain open until 8 or 9 pm. Some stores have a siesta in the middle of the day, but this tradition is mainly practiced by the restaurants and the cafes. Siesta hours are usually between 1:30 or 2 pm until 4 or 5 pm. Some stores are opened on Saturdays, but most of them remain closed on Sundays, so this is worth knowing when organizing your shopping spree in Madrid.
This fashion-oriented experience is focused on blending of the experience of meeting the city, getting to know the little streets and discovering all those small shops you may or may not heard of.
However, fashion tourism also includes a different kind of shopping experience which is focused on visiting shopping malls. Whether or not shopping malls are worth in cultural sense is debatable, but in terms of fashion, they do have much to offer. It is worth mentioning that high-end brands are not commonly sold in shopping malls. They are usually reserved to a specific part of the city, which we have mentioned earlier.
On the other hand, high-streets brands are usually located in the shopping malls, so this would be an excellent opportunity for you to explore what both Spanish and international brands have to offer.
If you are looking to stay in the city center, this shopping mall is the right choice. Even though it may not be as grand as other shopping malls, it is quite convenient to visit it especially if you rent an accommodation in the center of Madrid. It is opened from 10 am until 10 pm every day. The Príncipe Pío shopping mall opens at 11 am on Sundays and holidays. High-street brands such as H&M, Zara, Accessorize, Springfield, etc. are all part of this mall, along with fast food restaurants and coffee shops.
Las Rozas Village
If you are looking for a bigger shopping mall, the best solution is to look for those located outside the city center. Most of them are located up to an hour ride from Madrid city center, and you will usually find buses taking you there in regular intervals. The main reason why these shopping malls are such a popular destination even for tourist is the fact that they offer a more extensive variety of shops, and they also include outlet stores. In Las Rozas Village, for example, you can find the outlet shops of the world famous brands such as Armani, Calvin Klein, Diesel, Guess, Tommy Hilfiger, etc. Visiting such a mall requires at least a couple of hours, if not an entire day. Of course, there are enough restaurants and cafes for refreshments during the day.
Finally, the biggest shopping mall in Madrid, and thus a shopping paradise for all those interested in fashion tourism, Madrid Xanadú comes with an impressive offer of stores, brands, and shops that will enable just about anyone to find items they want and need. It is opened from 10 am until 10 pm every day, and it is located 20 kilometers from the city center with regular bus lines to take you there quickly.
At the end of the day, the true beauty of fashion tourism is in the fact that you get to organize a really personalized travel experience, you get to focus on what matters to you and things you are genuinely interested in. Alongside, any type of tourism will imminently help you learn something about the country you are visiting. It might be the way to shop, it may be the fact that you are starting to memorize the foreign language, it might be some particular custom you are not familiar with. It can be anything that brings you closer to a new country and creates a memorable travel experience. After all, a beauty of traveling is having fun, enjoying life and creating memories that will last for a lifetime.