UNOde50 around the world: 5 cool districts to lose yourself in

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From Tokyo to New York, passing through Seoul, London and Sweden, these are the destinations you will want to spend time, or at the very least, a holiday in. 5 countries, 5 cities and 5 perspectives on style and life, but with far more aspects in common than you might imagine.

Shoreditch, London.

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While in the 80’s it was Camden and in the 90’s SoHo, the new millennium has moved London’s trendy axis to the outskirts. Specifically, to the east of the city, the triangle made up of Shoreditch High St., Old St. and Great Eastern St. This is Shoreditch, the cool district with a British accent that just keeps stealing the limelight from the new Dalton and Peckham.

A meeting point for artistic trends and a place of pilgrimage for the most demanding foodies, it is also a mecca for all fashionistas in pursuit of the best vintage treasures. Its streets house the legendary Brick Lane Market, the true essence of second hand markets.

Shoreditch is also one of the epicentres of the afterwork scene in the city of rain, with hundreds of bars to finish off a day of shopping. And if the night looks set to carry on into the wee hours, Cargo and The Book Club are the best options to see and be seen in.

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Shimokitosawa, Tokyo.


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Although Shibuya and Harajuku get all the hype as epicentres of modernity, Shimokitosawa has been chosen by Vogue as the trendiest zone of the city. Popularly known as “Shimokita”, its casual-cool look is far more relaxed and chilled than its competitors.

Here the tunnel-bars, bizarre boutiques and authentic sushi bars, are unmissable stops in this warren of narrow streets and alleys, where you’ll find the nuances of the Japanese pop culture while also discovering another Japan.

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Greenpoint, Nueva York.

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Greenpoint has become the new Williamsburg, the world capital of the hipster culture. And Lena Dunham, creator and star of GIRLS, is to blame. Before she and her friends put Greenpoint at the centre of attention on the New York map, this neighbourhood was the best-kept secret among its new inhabitants, many of whom are exiles from the neighbouring district of Williamburg.

Authentic neighbourhood houses alternate with restaurants, galleries, vintage stores and indie music labels that have succumbed to the fever from the other side of the East River, make up this new object of desire in New York. Even Banksy left his mark on one of its walls and the Café Grumpy, where Dunham worked in the series, has become one of the pilgrimage destinations in the district.

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Hongdae, Seoul.

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Of the major urbs, Seoul is one of the cities to have undergone the most rapid transformation. Its years of poverty and prohibitions have been eclipsed by its neon lights, and its streets have become brightly lit catwalks for the country’s most faithful fashionistas to parade along. And the fact is that since Prada established itself in Korea at the start of the year 2000, Seoul has been the centre of the fashion industry’s attention. In fact, some compare it to the revolution caused by Miyake or Yamamoto in Japan in the 80’s.

Among its districts, Hongdae is a must. This is the area where new trends are shown off on streets packed with all sorts of markets and discos in which to dance ‘til dawn. An explosive mix that is positioning Seoul as one of the coolest cities of the moment.

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SoFo, Stockholm.

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Stockholm is famous for being one of the design capitals. And SoFo is the most northern fashion district, the part of the city everyone talks about. Its name, meaning “South of Folkungagatan”, is not only a pun on New York’s SoHo, but also a way of promoting the area, which has clearly been successful. Design, art, gastronomy and the very latest trends converge here. All accompanied by a particular hipster scene.

It is located in Södermalm, the largest and most laidback of the fourteen islands that make up the city. Here nostalgia for the past is also evident in the vintage furniture and clothing stores, mainly in the Bondegatan area, where the essential port of call is Södra Skattkammaren, with gems of Scandinavian design from the last century.

Tip: The Swedes cannot conceive of a day without their fikapaus –coffee break- and the city’s coolest cafés are located in SoFo.

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