The Art Of Craft Shopping Around The World

When you travel to a new place, what’s the first thing you do? Do you like to check out the local cultural scene, sample some of the region’s finest dishes, or, like so many others, do you partake in a little shopping?

Browsing a city’s shops and markets is a great way to gain an understanding of the local arts scene and acquire insight into cultural trends and movements that might be sweeping a local area. Craft shopping goes one step further, introducing us to local industry, putting handmade objects, bespoke materials, and one-off items on show. Trying your hand at a little craft shopping can really help you to understand an area’s cultural climate and local scene, but before you get going, you might want to plan your approach. Looking for the best of the best? These areas arguably top the list.

New York

One of the most culturally diverse places in the world, New York seems to have it all. Creative juices run freely throughout the city, so wherever you set your sights in this metropolis, you’re guaranteed to stumble across something entirely unique. When it comes to craft shopping, places like the Brooklyn Yarn Creative Studio or Swords-Smith are a great way of discovering local suppliers and independent brands. While Manhattan might have the best of international creations, it is the up-and-coming areas like Brooklyn that are really paving the way for local craft sellers and creatives alike.

Sydney

Boasting some of the most unique creative markets and one-off shops around the world, Sydney is a real treasure trove of craft shopping, guaranteed to offer something unforgettable. While any one of its cultural hotspots can tell a great deal about the place’s local scene, so too can the unique markets and stalls dotted around the city streets. For the very best of the best, try taking a peek inside The Finders Keepers market. Packed to the brim with local sellers and creatives, it has a great spread of local arts and might just open your eyes anew to the city.

London

It should come as little surprise that London is one of the most creatively diverse places on the planet. In any one of its districts, you can expect to stumble across some of the most unique handcrafted items you have likely ever laid eyes on, all made available on the market by local sellers. While there are a huge amount of different sellers to choose from, taking a trip to Spitalfields Market is bound to point you in the right direction. Frequented by the locals, the place is as authentic as they come and will show you a less tourist-driven side of the buzzing British capital.

Tokyo

As well as being one of the biggest international shopping hotspots, Tokyo also has a lot going for it on the local scene and it’s a great place to get acquainted with Japanese culture. Away from the bright lights of the main shopping scenes, you can get lost in the Ameyoko Arcade, a huge market that specializes in any number of local and handmade items. As authentic a local market as they come, Ameyoko is a great place to stumble across a one-off item or two, introducing you to unique souvenirs that one simply cannot find in a tourist shop.

Returning home from vacation with an authentic local item is a great way of preserving your travel experiences and helping you to unlock a little more of a region’s culture. Your trip might be a one-time experience but, by tapping into the local market, you can relive your trip anytime you want to with unique, storied mementos. The world is out there for the taking; it’s up to you to grab it with both hands.

Hannah Lamarque
Hannah is a freelance writer and copy editor living in Europe. She writes about travel, art, design and culture and loves discovering hidden places in the cities that she visits.

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