A Shop Guide to Lisbon and Porto
- Words Jacob Victorine
- Date July 10, 2017
When it comes to fashion, Portugal is not often cited as a #globalinfluencer, but the small Iberian nation deserves more credit. Not only has the country become a significant producer of luxury leather goods since it joined the EU, it also boasts its own fashion week (Lisbon’s ModaLisboa), highly-skilled wool producers, and, more recently, a rising crop of boutiques, many of which highlight Made in Portugal brands. Most of these shops call Lisbon and Porto (recently named “Europe’s Next Hot Spot” by Vogue) home, and the country’s two biggest cities have much in common: both rest on a major river (Lisbon the Tagus and Porto the Douro); both are rich in seafood, ancient architecture, and intricately painted ceramic tiles; both feature numerous hills and winding cobblestone streets; and, as previously mentioned, both now boast a number of up-and-coming shops that cater to local clientele and traveling streetwear fanatics alike.
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A relatively small, minimalist shop that features ample sunlight, archways, and white and sand-colored walls, Slou has been punching above its visible weight since 2013 with a brand list of international heavy hitters. Clothing from Comme des Garçons Shirt, Gosha Rubchinskiy, NEIGHBORHOOD (and its LUKER offshoot), Our Legacy, and Stone Island, accessories from Comme des Garçons Wallet and Sun Buddies, and sneakers from Converse (including Fragment Design and Comme des Garçons Shirt collaborations) make it a formidable foe for nearly any store you can find stateside.
Son of a Gun
Speaking of small, Son of a Gun is a near-closet-sized store that feels like a throwback to mid-2000’s NYC when sneaker shops like Clientele were still around. For locals, Son of a Gun is a place to browse hard-to-find streetwear and skate-culture brands, such as 10.Deep, ellesse, Stussy, and Vans, as well as its own in-house line of minimally branded, Made in Portugal graphic t-shirts. For fashion-savvy travelers, the shop may be less about rare gear, and more about a DIY vibe that has diminished since streetwear became a global phenomenon.
A shopping gallery that makes American malls feel like the shitholes they truly are, Embaixada is essentially a showroom for small Portuguese brands and makers that is open to the general public. These showrooms just happen to be located in a 19th Century new-Arabian palace that features a restaurant and award-winning cocktail bar, classically inspired sculptures, chandeliers, an enormous skylight, and staircases with actual red carpets plush enough to make your feet feel rich. The shops inside sell everything from apothecary products and baby clothing to furniture, sneakers, and obviously, clothes. Highlights include Armando Cabral, which carries luxury footwear designed by the Portuguese model of the same name, as well as Portuguese-made sneakers from We Are the Underdogs; Linkstore, which stocks supple, lightly distressed footwear from Bernardo M42 and its own line of waxed cotton and Portuguese leather bags; and Ecolã, which produces natural wool garments and accessories from Burel, a particular type of sheep native to the Serra da Estrela Mountains.
Burel Mountain Originals
Like Ecolã, Burel is a Portuguese wool producer and clothing/accessory brand that utilizes the wool of the Burel sheep and has flagship stores in Lisbon and Porto. However, Burel is a bit of an aberration on this list because, although their items are made using traditional processes and a few of them look that way, their accessories, among other products, are similar to those of a brand like WANT Les Essentiels, but at a fraction of the price. The Lisbon store appears small at first until you realize it features a basement space filled with conceptual furniture, beautifully patterned blankets that are hand finished after being woven on ancestral looms, and even bolts of wool fabrics that industrious customers can buy to make their own goods.
The most recognizable name on the list, La Paz (“peace” in Portuguese) is a menswear line founded by José Miguel de Abreu and André Bastos Teixeira in 2011 that takes inspiration from the Atlantic Ocean and Portuguese fishing culture. Despite a range of worldwide stockists, La Paz has only one store of its own, which is also arguably the most beautiful retail space in Portugal, and might be one of the most unique retail spaces in the world. Tucked away on a narrow side street (like many shops and restaurants in Porto and Lisbon), the store inhabits what was once a pharmacy and touts cathedral-shaped glass display cases, cork ceilings, an exposed stone wall, and windows that open up to a view of the Douro River, which sits just steps away—a perfect backdrop to present a broad array of the brand’s sea-inspired offerings. From board shorts and tees, to bomber jackets and striped coveralls, there are near-endless ways for you to get your Steve Zissou on.
Out to Lunch
Founded in 2015 by Tokyo native Yoske Nishiumi, who relocated to Porto from Berlin with partner Svenja Specht to find production for her women’s line Reality Studio, Out to Lunch curates a unique range of products that reflects Nishiumi’s globetrotting background. Footwear from Birkenstock and Novesta, bags from Airbag Craftworks, hats from previously mentioned Reality Studio, second-hand indigo-dyed noragi and haori, and tote bags made by a friend’s grandmother in Japan all mesh within this tiny shop set in the Galerias Lumière shopping mall.
The Feeting Room
A self-described “collaborative project between brands, new designers, plastic artists, and anyone who has a unique view,” The Feeting Room makes up for its cringe-worthy name with an onslaught of Portuguese footwear from brands like Eat My Dust, Goldmud, Nobrand, OFFICINA Lisboa, and Perks, as well as men’s and women’s clothing from numerous European brands, including parkas from Rains and marled t-shirts and work jackets from +351 (which has its own small shop in Lisbon). Opened in April 2015, the store features smooth concrete floors, white walls, industrial-inspired racks and shelves, distressed wood furniture, and an in-shop café called The Coffee Room. In December 2016, The Feeting Room opened a second location in Lisbon, which boasts everything the original location has to offer, minus the coffee.
With a futuristic interior that looks like a cross between TRON and Superman’s Fortress of Solitude, and a brand list that rivals Chicago’s RSVP Gallery, Wrong Weather has positioned itself as Porto’s most cutting edge men’s store. Founded in 2009, the shop stocks clothing from Astrid Andersen, Christopher Kane, Damir Doma, J.W. Anderson, Juun.J, KENZO, Off-White, Raf Simons, Rick Owens, and many others. And because Wrong Weather approaches fashion as an art form, the store also features the Wrong Weather Gallery, which has showcased artwork from Pierre Debusschere, Katrina del Mar, Mustafa Sabbagh, Bruce LaBruce, Patrick Church and Predrag Pajdic.
Presenting men’s and women’s clothing from its own line, an in-shop milliner, and clothing and footwear from brands such as Bomärke, La Paz, Portuguese Flannel, Hugo Costa, SayMyName, Weekend Barber, and Wolf & Son, among others, Daily Day feels like a bridge between avant-garde shops like Wrong Weather and more heritage-based brands like La Paz and Burel. Daily Day’s own line vacillates between traditional wool jackets and coats that could be from Golden Bear to darted, band-collared denim jackets that look like a cross between Needles and Undercover. The space itself is large and filled with light, and there are numerous places to lounge, making it a great store to shop if you’re planning on rolling through with a partner or a group of friends.