The fashion crowd has been rousing up quite a bit of chatter around Georgia lately. No, not that Georgia – the one located in the Caucus region of Eurasia. Celebrated for its flavorsome cuisine, bountiful wineries, world-class art scene and medieval architecture landscape, the formerly Soviet country is currently experiencing a cultural renaissance thanks to a new generation of forward-thinking young creatives (it’s also the birthplace of the world’s most talked-about designer right now).
Tbilisi, the country’s capital, has become a hotspot for fashion industry insiders in recent seasons; the city’s main sartorial-related event, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Tbilisi, has done a commendable job in attracting a talented roster of emerging designers. However, while Tbilisi isn’t short on style, it has some catching up to do when it comes to actual shopping. Unfortunately, the country’s middle class is still quite fledgling and many aren’t able to afford contemporary brands, leaving few retailer options and an even greater dearth in variety.
But as the city continues to change both culturally and socially, the demand for cutting-edge brands has become increasingly substantial. Though still small, Tbilisi now offers a decent range of stores where you can shop for trendy garb that isn’t either H&M or some mainstream luxury flagship reserved for the wealthy elite (and tourists).
Launched by Tbilisi-bred designer Gola Damian and local “it” girls Nini Nebieridze, Salome Bezarashvili and Nina Botchorishvili, Chaos is a concept store nestled inside trendy lifestyle hotel, Rooms, located on one of the city’s main thoroughfares. A retailer-meets-art gallery-meets-skate hangout, the space houses an eclectic mix of buzzy Georgian and international labels such as GCDS, ZDDZ and Shrimps as well as an in-house eponymous line that continues to sell out thanks to its signature flame-emblazoned fanny packs.
When they’re not spending coin on outré designer garms, visitors can be spotted tearing up Chaos’s indoor skate ramp or lounging atop a permanent bed installation plopped smack-dab in the middle of the store.
Margo Skate Shop
Another popular skate locale, Margo Skate Shop prides itself in being Tbilisi’s first and only retailer dedicated entirely to skateboarding. Located in the courtyard of the city’s most thriving hostel development, Fabrika, the store stocks an array of rare decks and buzzy skate brands such as NHS, Deluxe and Bakerboys.
Pierrot Le Fou
Named after the 1965 Jean-Luc Godard-directed film (French for “Pierrot the madman”), Pierrot Le Fou is a luxury multi-brand boutique catered to Tbilisi denizens with a more refined sartorial palette. Anchored by high-fashion heavyweights like Maison Margiela, Issey Miyake, Rick Owens and Simone Rocha, the store also features a fine sprinkling of unique art furnishings, from electric blue Renaissance heads and towering plant vases to circular lighting fixtures and mirrored tables.
If it’s top-grade eyewear and fragrances you’re after, look no further than Sauvage. Featuring striking geometric display fixtures and caged lighting panels that bask the entire space with hues of blinding fluorescence, the store boasts a number of luxe shades and scents by niche brands including MED et LEN, Meo Fusciuni, Miller et Bertaux, Ann Demeulemeester and Yohji Yamamoto.
Wasted Concept Store
Run by a group of high schoolers, Wasted Concept Store was conceived as a means to fill what its owners felt was a huge void in Tbilisi’s retail landscape. Peppered with a colorful mix of thrifted finds from various flea markets around the city, the store’s curation adheres to a youthful, IG-friendly audience that’s attuned to current trends and fashions: think fishnet stockings, vintage Burberry, bombers and red patent leather thigh boots.
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- Photographer: Louisa Chalatashvili / Highsnobiety.com