Tsum: Why this luxury department store in Moscow is Russia’s best kept fashion secret
From Russia with love
When you think of the best, most dynamic department stores in the world to shop for fashion, these usual suspects pop into mind: Bergdorf Goodman in New York City, Selfridges in London, Corso Como in Milan, and Le Bon Marché in Paris. Luxury department store Tsum in Moscow, Russia is here to add to that list. Founded in 1857 by Scottish merchants Andrew Muir and Archibald Mirrielees, the heritage house is not only a shorter plane ride away from Singapore than the rest, there are also distinct characteristics that make Tsum stand heads and shoulders above (or at least on par) with other renowned fashion giants in its league.
1. Tsum carries thousands of brands.
The number of brands a department store retails is a litmus test of its might. On that front, Tsum is a heavyweight, housing over 2,000 labels across categories of fashion, beauty, jewellery, and lifestyle under its roof. International names range from streetwear darlings such as Off-White and Vetements to perennial favourites including Prada and Gucci. If you're looking to support their local talent, Walk of Shame and Vika Gazinskaya are among the top Russian labels stocked at Tsum.
2. Their prices are competitive.
Since 2015, Tsum has adopted a transparent pricing strategy that aligns its prices to that of boutiques and department stores in Paris and Milan. You can buy the latest seasonal releases you’ve been eyeing without forking out the usual mark-ups imparted by import duties and taxes. Moreover, customers are advised to stretch their dollar by reclaiming VAT on purchases made in Tsum over RUB10,000 (approximately SGD210).
3. They host special fashion events.
Not only does Tsum carry the latest fashion products from around the world, the department store also hosts seasonal fashion shows and special collaborative pop-ups. Their runway extravaganzas are attended by socialites, influencers, and media and play a part in determining the trends for the season. Tsum also shakes things up frequently with pop-ups created in partnership with new and existing brands to give shoppers unique shopping experiences unavailable elsewhere. For example, A Bathing Ape’s debut at Tsum (and Russia) was celebrated with window display featuring a Bentley in camouflage.
4. Language barriers do not exist at Tsum.
The indecipherable Cyrillic script might be a deterrent for some to visit stunning Russia. At Tsum, language barriers are combatted by staff who are fluent in Chinese and English. In-store navigation in Chinese and English are available as well. In addition, Tsum offers an exclusive loyalty program, on top of unique services including personal shopping, bespoke suit tailoring, and beauty treatments.
5. Tsum is centrally located.
The Red Square and Bolshoi Theatre are among the many landmarks that represent Moscow. Found just a stone’s throw away, Tsum sits minutes from these iconic destinations, making the department store a perfect shopping break from sightseeing.
6. The building is a historical landmark.
The Tsum building is difficult to miss, thanks to its impressive stature and façade. The six-storied structure was built in Neo-Gothic style by Russian architect Roman Klein in 1908, who also designed the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts. Spanning over 70,000 square metres, Tsum is the largest department store in Eastern Europe and the third biggest in Europe.