Karolinenviertel, Hamburg, Germany
Hamburg's Karolinenviertel quarter was, until recently, notorious for its run-down buildings, populated by punk squatters, poor Turkish and Kurdish immigrants and marijuana peddlers. But Marktstrasse, the district's 500-metre-long main artery, and the streets around it, are gentrifying rapidly. Turkish vegetable stalls and second-hand shops now stand next to stylish workshop-boutiques and cafes.
Karolinenviertel has its own website: www.karolinenviertel.de, which directs visitors to hot properties such as the Anna Fuchs boutique, at Glasshuettenstrasse 106 (tel: 49 40 4108 5408; www.
annafuchs.com). The designer is quickly gaining loyal followers thanks to elegant collections that sit as easily in boardrooms as they do in nightclubs (from Euro279/$2,700 to Euro2,800). Meanwhile, Recession by Marla, at Glasshuettenstrasse 8 (tel: 49 40 1901 8970; www.recession-by-marla.de), offers the glamorous retro-look of her favourite era, the 1920s. Pick up a seductive little dress for Euro249.
Next door, Faktorei Geheim (tel 49 40 2805 3485; www.faktorei-geheim.de), by Detlef and Britta Klug, specialises in 'tattooing' elaborate embroidery on to your favourite clothes. This is also the place for new-lease-of-life gear: an embroidered French army jacket can be yours for Euro130.
Herr von Eden, at Marktstrasse 33 (below; tel: 49 40 439 0057; www.herrvoneden.com), is for the man out to make an impression. Danish tailor Bent Angelo Jensen stocks his flagship store with exquisite suits, shirts, ties and some dandy paraphernalia. Suave shop assistants are happy to advise on that three-piece suit (Euro450-Euro490) or silk shirt (Euro89). Down the road at Garment (Marktstrasse 25, tel: 49 40 410 8403; www.garment-online.de), designers Kathrin Mueller and Ullinca Schroeder offer chic streetwear from Euro139 and wedding outfits for both sexes.
Vintage tables, chairs and shelves saved from the junkyard reappear at eco-friendly Wohnbar furniture shop (Marktstrasse 142, tel: 49 40 5330 7514; www.wohnbar.de). And at Elternhaus (Marktstrasse 29, tel: 49 40 430 8380), the accent is on world peace: its 'multifaith' fragrance, Moslbuddjewchristhindao, brings a whiff of tolerance to the world for Euro120; T-shirts bearing various 'right on' logos cost from Euro27.
Across the street, cobbler-designer Inga Thomas (tel: 49 40 8895 1833; www.ingathomas.de) makes animal-free boots and shoes with the motto: 'Respect for shoes, animals and nature.' Her bespoke footwear starts at Euro290.
Andreas Linzner (Marktstrasse 6, tel: 49 40 4043 3435; www.andreaslinzner.com) is the place
to go for fluffy plush toys, bathrobes, cushions and almost anything made from recycled towelling. The hottest items are in his cuddly animal collection (Euro17.90-Euro45.90).
When all shopped out, head to Mangold Lokal (Oelmuehle 30, tel: 49 40 2786 0248), a laid-back cafe/restaurant with a minimalist interior and fine views of the town square, or, later in the evening, Yoko Mono (Marktstrasse 41, tel: 49 40 4318 2991; www.yokomono.de), a Bohemian watering hole featuring DJs and live music every night.