Fashion Capitals: Amsterdam vs Barcelona

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They say fashions come and go, but the classics never go out of style. As we take a look at Barcelona and Amsterdam, two of the world’s biggest fashion capitals, it’s easy to see how. While the designs and materials change, the basic foundations remain the same, from the cool urban elegance of Barcelona to the eclectic vintage flair of Amsterdam. Each city holds internationally-renowned fashion events around the year, and each boasts an incredible selection of famous designers. But which city matches your style?

Amsterdam

The Style
Amsterdam’s liberal atmosphere is reflected with pride in its fashion, and  those who like to get creative with their outfits will find plenty of inspiration here. Amsterdam style is known for its rebellious edge, sporting loud colours, mixed textures and patterns, and heavy outer layers. With so much variety on the streets, the only way to be trendy in Amsterdam is to be as unconventional as possible. Clash colours, layer patterns, match heavy tops and knitted jumpers with light, floataway skirts, and always finish with a bulky jumper or coat for that classic Amsterdam look.

In the evening, the city becomes even more colourful, as party-goers step out in fabulous evening dresses and casual suits. Smart-casual is the standard for men, ideally with a well-fitted blazer and an eye-catching pair of designer shoes. Ladies’ fashion is showy and innovative, and there’s no shortage of colour and texture as peacock dresses, ruffled skirts, sequinned shirts matched with leggings, and loud-print playsuits bring the city alive. Boutique designer shoes are big in Amsterdam, and style-spotters will always notice the high-heeled wonders and sparkling pumps making their way through the ultra-trendy Eastern Docklands area at night.

Train Entrance - Amsterdam Envy - Amsterdam
Street Style Amsterdam
Colorful AmsterdamJonne Kingma Amsterdam

The City
Amsterdam’s reputation as a fashion capital comes from its ability to develop entirely original trends which has, thanks to the mix-and-match style and do-it-yourself ethos, become accessible to everyone. There is a huge vintage culture in Amsterdam, and many find the best way to experience real Amsterdam fashion is to hit the second-hand stores for something completely unique. The biggest shopping area is the Nine Streets, where vintage shops and one-of-a-kind designer outlets lie side-by-side. Handmade and period jewellery is popular, as are the beautiful designer shoes, found in boutiques across the city.

Fashion events in Amsterdam can be as large as the international Amsterdam Fashion week, or as small as the ad-hoc displays in parks and public squares, organised by young designers or those just looking to showcase their work. Events and displays can be found in unusual locations across the city, from the reclaimed empty shop windows, used to support up-and-coming designers, to the catwalk shows held twice a year in the former gas plant of the Culture Park Westergasfabriek. With so many small businesses, local designers and DIY-enthusiasts, fashion in Amsterdam is constantly-evolving, all-inclusive, and a hub of innovation and experimentation. Check out Amsterdam city breaks on the easyJet holidays website, and get your very own one-of-a-kind find from Nine Streets.

Barcelona

The Style
Barcelona’s famously hot climate and coastal location means that for most, basic and beautiful is the way forward. Quality plain tees and cool shorts in block greys and blues are the standard around the Las Ramblas and the Gothic Quarter, while on the beach the soft California-surf look is given a high-class Barcelona makeover.

Evening wear in Barcelona is equally clean and simple, built on understated colours and elegant cuts. While popular men’s fashion is considerably more casual than women, high-quality designer jeans matched with a print t-shirt, topped off with a good pair of leather shoes, are an absolute must for the style-conscious man about town. In contrast, women’s fashion is beautifully chic, and whatever time of year, you can’t go wrong with a light dress with some small embellishment, or one-piece playsuit, balanced with a heavier leather jacket and a good pair of heels. Subtle and classy, Barcelona’s well-established street style is what has made it a hub of classic design.

Rostros de Barcelona by Raul Tejero Rostros de Barcelona by Raul Tejero
Light Wings, Barcelona
Rostros de Barcelona by Raul TejeroAzul y Rojo

The City
The city’s reputation for high-class fashion goes beyond the beaches and nightlife. The shopping areas offer  endless opportunities, boasting numerous high-fashion outlets like the exclusive Santa Eulalia, or the hidden designer dress store Errete. Barcelona is also know for its innovative styles, and as they go, Custo Barcelona is fast becoming a trendsetter for those with their fingers on the pulse. In stark contrast to the established plain elegance the scene is known for, Custo’s famous vibrant colours and loud cut-and-paste prints are becoming a rebellious must-have fashion item.

Barcelona’s biggest style event is undoubtedly Fashion Week, the international event drawing in designers and experts from around the world. Throughout the year workshops and exhibitions showcase more of the stunning local pieces, and the IED Barcelona School of Fashion holds regular runway shows, ensuring fashion stays at the centre of the city’s culture. To get closer to Barcelona’s fashion scene, check out the easyJet holidays site for Barcelona city breaks.

Wherever you’re looking to draw your inspiration from, the polar opposites of Barcelona and Amsterdam’s fashion foundations offer ample opportunity to discover new styles,or to mix and match and find something totally unique!

by Adam Spawton-Rice

Amsterdam City Page | Barcelona, Spain