If you value quality over quantity and have the money to spare, do shop for designer items. More often than not, they are made of high quality materials. They are more expensive compared to regular items but expect these items to stay in your closet for much longer than ordinary items. Designer items are made to last. In addition, some designer merchandise such as watches and handbags can be a form of investment too.
The goods news is that shopping for designer brands does not have to break the bank. You can find luxury bargains if you shop at designer outlets.
Designer outlets are stores that sell upscale merchandise at a lower price. Normally, designer brands sell their overstock or out-of-season items in outlets. Sometimes, these items are slightly damaged, irregular or slightly used such as display or sample items. Because of these, items sold at outlets are discounted or cheaper than items in regular retail stores.
In outlets, you can purchase great finds from 10% to as much as 90% off the retail price.
Before you plan your trip to a shopping outlet, there are things that you need to remember. One, outlets are a bit far from the city centre. Because of this, you will need to allot at least a whole day in your itinerary for outlet shopping.
Another thing is while there are some instances wherein you can find new items, chances are these items are made specifically for outlets, thus, expect these items to be of different compared to items from their flagship stores. Remember that most items on outlets are overstocks or collections from the last season or two, thus, sizes and options are quite limited. You need to look hard patiently and with a stroke of luck, you might just find something that is perfect for you.
Here is a list of luxury designer outlets in the world that are worth visiting:
1. Bicester Village, England, UK
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If you are looking for British top luxury labels such as Burberry, Stella McCartney, Vivienne Westwood and Paul Smith, then the Bicester Village is the outlet for you. It has more than 160 designer boutiques to choose from.
The village is just an hour away from London by car. It will take you only 46 minutes if you take the train and alight at Bicester Village Station. There is also the option of taking the Shopping Express bus from Central London.
2. Dessert Hills, California, USA
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Located near Palm Springs in Cabazon, California, the Dessert Hills outlet has more than 180 stores with brands like Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Burberry, Gucci and Moncler. Expect also a lot of American brands in the area. Although there are a lot of outlets in California, Dessert Hills has the largest collection of luxury outlets in California. It is just an hour drive away from Los Angeles.
3. Foxtown, Mendrisio, Switzerland
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In the small town of Mendrisio, Switzerland on the Swiss-Italian border, in between Lake Como and Lugano is the Foxtown Factory Store. The shopping mall boasts of more than 160 luxury fashion stores offering 30% to 70% discount all year round. It is in the Italian border so expect the best Italian fashion labels like Gucci, Prada, Valentino and Versace. Unlike most outlets around the world, this shopping is located under one roof. They also have their own casino just in case you are into it.
There is a daily shuttle bus from Milan to Foxtown Mendrisio. The Zani Viaggi shuttle bus leaves Milan twice a day, one at 10:00 am and the other one at 1:00 pm.
4. Gotemba Premium Outlets, Shizouka, Japan
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Situated at the base of Mt. Fuji, the Gotemba Premium Outlets feature over 210 stores. Internationally known fashion brands such as Fendi, Gucci, Hugo Boss, Marc Jacobs and Valentino can be found there. You can also shop for household goods, electronics, watches and many others. There are a number of restaurants to choose from. You can also relax and ride the giant ferris wheel or simply just enjoy the majestic view of Mt. Fuji, a World Heritage Site.
You can get there by car, train or bus. There are direct service buses from different parts of Japan such as Shinjuko and Tokyo. You can also get there by train. There is a free shuttle bus service from Gotemba station. There are also day tours for tourists that include shopping at the outlet.
5. Horizon Plaza, Ap Lei Chau, Hong Kong
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Horizon Plaza is a 28 storey building of discounted furniture and factory outlet stores. It looks like a regular office building from the outside but it houses upscale fashion retailers such as Lane Crawford and Joyce Warehouse. Luxury designer fashion brands such as Armani, Saint Laurent, Tods, Salvatore Ferragamo and Ralph Lauren can also be found in the building. Just a couple of meters away is Space, the outlet for Prada and Miu Miu.
You can get there either by bus or by train. If you are coming from the city, take bus 671. From the airport, the A10 bus will take you to Ap Lei Chau. Within Ap Lei Chau, you can take bus 95. Whether you are aboard bus 671, A10 or 95, alight at Lee Wing St. If you opt to take the train, go down at MTR South Horizon. Once you get out of the station, you may want to visit the Prada Space outlet first. Horizon Plaza is about 10 minutes walk from the station.
6. La Vallée Village, Serris, France
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Just 35 minutes from Paris is a shopping outlet that is dedicated mostly to top French fashion brands that you won’t find anywhere else. Brands like Givenchy, Chloe, Celine, Lacoste and L’occitane are just some of the stores that you will find in La Valle Village. With over 110 brands to choose from, there is something for men, women and children.
You can take a car, bus or train to get to the village. There is a Shopping Express shuttle service that departs from Place des Pyramides in Paris twice a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. You can also take the RER train (line A4) to Marne-la-Vallée-Chessy-Parcs Disney. If you are staying in one of the Disney hotels, you can take their free shuttle. the outlet is just 10 minutes away.
7. The Mall, Tuscany, Italy
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Nestled in the rolling hills of the Tuscan countryside is The Mall. The Mall houses more than 30 of the world’s top and most exclusive Italian luxury brand names like Gucci, Givenchy, Pucci, Ferragamo and Valentino. Although small compared to other outlets, the selection is comparable to those being sold in main fashion streets like 5th avenue in New York or Via Condotti in Rome.
You can get there either by car or bus. There is a direct bus service from Florence every 30 minutes. If you go by car, you can also visit the Prada outlet in Montevarchi which is about 30 minutes away.
8. Woodbury Common Premium Outlets, New York, USA
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With 220 store outlets, Woodbury Commons features the largest collection of designer stores in the United States. With an area of 800,000 square feet, it is one of the largest shopping outlets in the world. It features many upscale stores such as Gucci, Burberry, Balenciaga, Ermenegildo Zegna and Dior as well as popular American brands like Ralph Lauren, Coach and Banana Republic.
It is only an hour away north of New York City. You can get there by car, train or bus. Tour companies such as CitySightsNY and NewYorkSightseeing offers found trip transportation to the outlets for tourists.
9. Yeoju Premium Outlet, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea
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The Yeoju Premium Outlet is the second largest outlet in Asia, next to Gotemba in Shizouka, Japan. It takes up about 265,000 square meters of shopping space and houses brand such as Armani, Burberry, Dolce and Gabana, Escada, Gucci and many others. Korean designer brands can also be found in the outlet.
There is a bus that goes directly to the Yeoju outlet from Seoul. The Yeongdong line from the Gangham Express Bus Terminal or the East Seoul Terminal goes to Yeoju. It is a one and half to two hours ride from Seoul depending on the traffic. Once in Yeoju, transfer to bus to 51-11 or 51-13 to reach the outlet.