Since Argentina is still a closed economy importing very few international brands, Buenos Aires is dominated by a very vibrant local design scene, making it a unique shopping destination. Argentine designers have got all your wardrobe needs covered, from unique one-of-a-kind clothing to handbags, jewelry, custom-made shoes and other unique accessories, while the city’s talented artisans offer a modern take on Argentina’s traditional handmade crafts, of which there are many. If you are in search of some key mementos to take home with you when shopping in Buenos Aires, here are our top five must-buys:
Alpaca silver to decorate your home
Argentina’s local artisan silver is known as alpaca (or German silver). Alpaca has the same polished look and feel as sterling silver but it’s a less valuable, more durable metal. The city’s artisans skillfully create both decorative housewares as well as remarkable jewelry pieces in this versatile material. Luxury Buenos Aires design firm Airedelsur work with numerous skilled artisan communities to make stunning housewares and accessories, combining alpaca with unique onyx stones, wood and other locally-sourced materials.
A statement piece of designer fashion
The Buenos Aires shopping scene offers a vast number of talented Argentine fashion designers, who have made a name for themselves locally. Since they design and make their collections in Argentina and in small supply, you’re unlikely to see anyone else wearing the same pieces back home. Multi-designer women’s boutique Panorama is a great spot to pick up a head-turning piece of clothing from one of the city’s emerging fashion designers.
A piece of handmade jewelry
Jewelry isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of shopping in Buenos Aires but there are many creative jewelry designers in the city, who hand-make each piece themselves and work with a wide range of materials, from sterling silver and other metals to semi-precious and precious stones and more unusual materials such as textiles, acrylic, recycled rubber and wood. You can visit many of them personally in their appointment-only workshops such as Gabriela Horvat, whose pieces crafted from woven silk thread and semi-precious are intricate works of art, or Tamara Lisenberg, who has won numerous prestigious design prizes for her artistic, multifaceted creations.
Something knitted or handwoven
Argentina’s indigenous artisans and designers take inspiration from the green plains, mountains and desert which make up Argentina and make use of the abundance of natural resources at their fingertips. Sheep, llama and alpaca wool is all handwoven and knitted into beautiful pieces of clothing, accessories and home textiles. Chaguar, a unique material commonly used in the north of Argentina, is a thread spun from the native Chaguar plant by the indigenous Wichi communities and used to make bags, cushion covers and other distinctive crafts. Buenos Aires designer Maydi only uses natural fibres and organic yarns in her exclusive avant-garde line of knitwear and home textiles, which merge Argentina’s artisan traditions with a modern eye for design.
A bottle of fine red wine
Make room in your luggage for at least one bottle of Malbec, or a bottle of fresh and fruity Torrontes (if you prefer white wine). Boutique wine shop Facon has an excellent selection of wines from wineries across Argentina, as well as a cherry-picked collection of art, design pieces and artisan wares for sale, from the owner’s travels around Argentina.
To save yourselves time and effort in your Buenos Aires shopping quests and to gain access to Buenos Aires’ exclusive closed-door shopping scene, book a bespoke shopping trip with Shop Hop BA.