Hong Kong has created one of the most successful societies on Earth.
– Prince Charles
Suits are practically the island's uniform, whether it's off-the-rack, tailored, or totally bespoke. This boutique in the Pedder Building offers gorgeous natty duds with supreme craftsmanship.
A funky little open-air studio on the outskirts of Central where you can learn the art of working leather. Sign up for a session or two and craft notebook covers, camera cases, purses, and slippers.
A lifestyle brand (with six shops in Hong Kong) merging old and new China: rare titles on colonial Hong Kong, street photography, and Chinese cookbooks in English that you can't get anywhere else. Mahjong tiles and Shanghai soap make great souvenirs.
Upper Lascar Row (Cat Street) is a grimey little alleyway off Hollywood Road that's chock-a-block with touristy souvenirs, and flanked with shops selling antique, ceramics, toys, junk, and forgotten Chinese relics. The area used to be close to the coastline, and became known as the place where sailors and merchants would offload their treasures and artifacts from abroad.
The market (held about 15 times a year) gives a cold shoulder to mass production by shedding a spotlight on local, sustainable, and handmade artisanal foods, beauty products, clothes, accessories, and crafts. Check the site for other market locations around Hong Kong.
A hawking market that's great for costume jewelry, fast fashion, and trendy accessories. Be prepared to negotiate aggressively: Offer 50 percent of the quoted price and pretend to walk away. Made to order goods (inspired by, say, Hermes) can be had here.
HK's grand dame of high-end clothing, helmed by style icon Sarah Rutson, is a beautiful department store chain that caters to socialities and "tai tai's" (ladies that lunch). There are several locations around the city.
This antiquarian book store is a real page-turner. Peruse the very special vintage tome collection, natural history books, children's collections, and poetry volumes. All found treasures leave the shop beautifully wrapped.
Perched on a sloping street of mismatched boutiques, cafes, and printing shops you'll find a whimsical reinvention of the classic Hong Kong tailor shop. The proprietors have a dashing quality of another era altogether: They handcraft bowties, write periodicals, and collect old Chinese ephemera. If there's no time for a fitting, scoop up Bermuda shorts, piped pjs, and a leather wallet or two.
The area around Hollywood Road (sometimes called Soho and Noho) has become a full-blown indie boutique district, a refreshing change from the mega-malls to the east. Aberdeen Street, Tung Street, and Gough Street are filled with small brand stores, design studios, and coffee shops to make your heart go pitter-patter; stroll Cat Street for mao statues, funky jade pieces, and retro teapots.
The last of the amazing Japanese department stores in the area. Pastries and confections come boxed, decorated, ready to gift, and are so pretty you'll have a hard time eating them. Sogo also carries a lot of cool Japanese labels you won't see outside of Asia.
To reach this touristy-but-fun market on the backside of HK island, you must drive the winding roads, with steep cliffs on one side, beaches on the other. There are narrow lanes with lots of shops and kiosks selling trinkets, handmade silk items, pashminas, and embroidered linen things. People bargain here for sport, so it can be exhausting. Stroll the main road and you'll find several great places for lunch.
A swank-yet-tranquil shopping strip (comprised of Star, Sun, Moon, and Wing Streets) with a global flair: Agnes b's Librairie Galerie, Kapok, Monocle, Astier de Villatte, and a Central St. Martin design duo's Daydream Nation. Plenty of French cafes for a midday pause.