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Bringing Shopping to the Masses: Investigating Belgian Department Stores Between 1860 and 1900

The department store originated in Paris, the fashion capital of the world. However, in the mid-nineteenth century, the concept had also become popular in Brussels, as per the Belgian saying "when it rains in Paris it drips in Brussels." The first department stores in Belgium were: Au Bon Marché, À l'Innovation, Grand Bazar Anvers, Grand Bazar Liège, Anspachgallery, and the Grand Magasin de la Bourse. In this research, we will explore how these stores came to be. We will examine both the exterior and interior of the stores, the products they sold, and how they introduced a new way of shopping to Belgian customers. We will focus on those stores that were created in the period of 1860 to 1900 in Belgium, but will briefly discuss the later history as well.

Fashioning Ghent: A Historical Map of Ghent’s Fashion Center

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