The 15 Best Free & Premium Shopify Themes for Fashion Stores (2018)

02/05/2018, Web Design, Esther Lowde

In an industry which is becoming more saturated and competitive every year, the importance of having a website that is attractive, engaging and easy to navigate cannot be overstated.

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In fact, studies show that 70% of shoppers don’t trust badly designed websites and that the average consumer forms an opinion about a company within the first 0.05 seconds of viewing its homepage.

When it comes to achieving your ecommerce goals, the way you choose to present your website can therefore either make or break your business, and when you invest in crafting a compelling website that credits and complements your brand, you can be sure that investment will be returned to you tenfold.

Before we take a look at some of the best existing Shopify presets on the market, let’s first establish some basic design guidelines for optimising your success online.  

 

Three Golden Rules of Web Design

 

1. Website usability must be your priority

Ultimately, if you want your products to sell, you need customers to find navigating your store simple, intuitive and enjoyable. Online shoppers like familiar layouts, with an obvious search bar and add-to-cart function and clearly laid out product menus.

They also expect web pages to load quickly, as studies have shown that just a one second delay in page response can result in a 27% reduction in sales, making a lightweight, fast-loading template crucial to the success of your store.

 

2. Ensure that your website is fully responsive

With sales from mobile devices recently overtaking desktop traffic, having an ecommerce store that is mobile friendly has never been more important.

According to Adobe, 8 in 10 consumers will stop engaging with content that doesn’t display well on their device, so in order for your store to be successful, the look and feel of your website needs to remain consistently impressive no matter where or how it is accessed.

 

3. Your website design must represent your brand

In order to unlock your full ecommerce potential, you want your website to be not only well laid out and visually appealing but also uniquely tailored to your store.

One great way to ensure your website represents your brand perfectly is by working with a Shopify Expert. These are professional designers who will use their specialist knowledge to create a stand-out custom design that will enhance the appeal of your clothing products, make the best impression possible on potential customers and ultimately help you convert more ‘browsers’ (people browsing your store) into buyers.

With these essential considerations in mind, it’s time to explore which of the hundreds of available Shopify layouts could showcase your online store best.

At Swanky, we’ve compiled a list of the best premium and free themes on the market, based on their aesthetic appeal, usability, responsiveness and ecommerce conversion success.

We’ll also see what Swanky’s own Shopify Expert, Matt Giles, has to say about each template, gaining insights into how a professional website designer goes about creating online catalogues that truly stand out from the crowd.

 

The Top 10 Premium Shopify Themes

 

#10 Venue

$160 / £115

 

Aesthetic appeal: 8/10

Mobile friendliness: 9/10

Ecommerce conversion: 7/10

 

If you’re looking to purchase a Shopify theme for a clothing store which also sells its products in physical locations, Venue may be exactly what you’re looking for, as this template allows brands to announce and share store locations, details and events via the integrated Google Maps feature. 

Each of Venue’s three diverse presets is highly customisable, giving you the option to add marketing popups, video content and opt-in newsletter forms to your page with ease, and to choose a layout which fits the feel of your clothing store best; whether that be the colourful and dynamic ‘Weekend’ demo or a more minimalist, conservative model such as ‘Morning’.

 

Comments from a Shopify Plus Designer: “The high customisation potential of this theme, such as the many different menu positioning options, is useful for allowing brands to make their website design their own. Notably, there is a great difference between each of Venue’s different presets. For example, in the ‘Morning’ layout, the calls to action follow when you scroll, which is a great touch, whereas in the ‘Evening’ template, the search option and calls to action on the product pages could be much more visible to encourage customers to purchase more items.”

 

#9 Ella

$56 / £40

 

Aesthetic appeal: 8/10 

Mobile friendliness: 10/10 

Ecommerce conversion: 8/10 

 

Ella is currently the most reviewed and downloaded theme on ThemeForest.

Created with fashion and apparel businesses in mind, this theme is hugely customisable, allowing companies to express themselves to a greater extent by choosing different colours, banners and information blocks for their website.

It also allows users to flaunt their brand’s other channels by adding Instagram photos and snippets of blog posts to the home page.

This fully responsive layout features a wide range of useful functions such as an advanced mega menu module which can list product images as well as text, layered product filtering options, mailing list popups and an optional FAQ template.

For those in search of a template open to creative personalisation and designed with fashion brands in mind, Ella is definitely a theme worth looking into.

 

Comments from a Shopify Plus Designer: “This template has a lot of really helpful features, such as a well laid-out mega menu that can notably contain images as well as text. From a sales perspective, there is also an immediate purchase route – especially when accessed by mobile – with the well-placed cart icon and instant add to cart function helping to increase conversion rates. The search bar, however, could be more obviously placed. When viewed on a desktop, the header is also a little too text-heavy and cluttered. The product pages could also use some improvement, as the calls to action and the product images themselves are relatively small, although the information tabs on each product pages are a nice touch.”

 

#8 Parallax

Price: $180 / £130

 

Aesthetic appeal: 10/10

Mobile friendliness: 6/10

Ecommerce conversion: 7/10

 

If you’re looking for a fun and bold way to display your apparel online, Parallax may be the Shopify theme for you.

This theme derives its name from the parallax scrolling effect, which makes even moving up and down the page a sleek stand-out feature for desktop visitors to appreciate.

Its four presets share a common focus on beautiful and bold imagery, giving you the option to display full-width photo or video sliders to your website and add custom text, image and promotional banners to every page.

And how is it doing for conversions?

Each of the four available layouts has an abundance of integrated ecommerce features to provide shoppers with the slickest desktop user experience possible, with the sticky navigation bar allowing shoppers to switch from one link to the next with ease and a slide-out shopping cart function making purchasing products as seamless as possible.

Parallax is particularly beneficial for those looking to build their brand’s social media following, as it allows users to add excerpts of blog posts to their home page and showcase associated brand logos.

Overall, therefore, this is a good all-round Shopify theme with a solid variety of features.

 

Comments from a Shopify Plus Designer: “One thing to keep in mind about the parallax scrolling effect is that while it may be a glamorous touch which looks nice on your page, it will not ultimately sell your products. Parallax scrolling is ineffective on mobiles and other devices, which make for over 50% of online transactions, so although features like these can provide a sleek experience for desktop users, they should not sway your web design decisions entirely.”

 

#7 Testament

Price: $140 / £100

 

Aesthetic appeal: 10/10

Mobile friendliness: 7/10

Ecommerce conversion: 7/10

 

Created specifically to advertise clothing and apparel, each beautiful and minimalist Testament template allows shoppers to quickly switch between different colour swatches of products and view galleries of high-quality product images, lookbooks and even video content.

Testament is designed to provide your customers with a fresh, clean and seamless shopping experience on any device, with the instant add-to-cart functionality and quick checkout system making online shopping at your store simple and intuitive.

What’s more?

Thanks to the new mega menu feature, you’ll also be able to showcase pictures of your newest releases in the drop-down menu, and display new clothing collections in the custom sidebar area.

For those looking to flaunt a range of highly visual clothing products and strike a balance between beauty and functionality in their website’s design, purchasing Testament is therefore an option well worth exploring.

 

Comments from a Shopify Plus Designer: “This minimalist theme is attractive and clean, and the slider feature is particularly useful because it allows stores to display prominent calls to action. Again, however, the shopping cart and search bar functions could stand out more on each page to encourage customers to complete transactions. It’s also worth considering that when product listings are accessed by mobile, the search button is not actually visible. This means that conversion rates will likely be higher among desktop users, which is not ideal for optimising sales.”

 

#6 Avenue

Price: $56 / £40

 

Aesthetic appeal: 8/10

Mobile friendliness: 7/10

Ecommerce conversion: 8/10

 

Created by the same designers who made the Ella theme, Avenue is simple, classy and bold.

This fully responsive template presents buyers with two optional presets – one specifically tailored for gentlemen’s clothing and one for ladies’ apparel – which share a focus on providing a deluxe and intuitive user experience.

Avenue boasts a variety of basic useful features to make purchasing clothing seamless and simple, including sticky navigation, product colour swatches, an advanced mega menu function and the opportunity for shoppers to create wish lists as they browse.

Furthermore, this theme offers the new AJAX layered navigation module in order to provide your visitors with the richest customer experience possible.

 

Comments from a Shopify Plus Designer: “The sticky navigation feature is a real attribute for Shopify websites, as are the built-in USPs in the header of this template. Avenue also displays some great calls to action, such as the instant option to add products to your cart before even leaving the home page. However, the somewhat Inefficient use of header space could be improved, especially on mobiles where lots of scrolling is required to get past the text and actually see the products. Avenue is also not as fast as many other available themes on the market.”

 

#5 Basel

Price: $59 / £42

 

Aesthetic appeal: 9/10

Mobile friendliness: 9/10

Ecommerce conversion: 8/10

 

With twenty ecommerce layouts to choose from, Basel offers an enormous array of customisable designs for those looking to get creative with their website design.

Its drag-and-drop page builder gives you the freedom to restructure each preset and create your own custom header layout so you can ensure your website matches the feel of your store.

Basel’s scope of built-in features is equally large, giving you the option to add photo sliders, store location maps and product carousels to your home page, and to provide product quick views and 360 views of all clothing on sale.

Other useful Basel characteristics include the optional AJAX feature, which allows parts of your web page to be updated without the customer having to reload it entirely, and the availability of ‘coming soon’ and ‘under maintenance’ themes.

Overall, this template is fully responsive, highly flexible and a solid option for fashion businesses looking to create their own creative and sophisticated online store.

 

Comments from a Shopify Plus Designer: “This is a good, strong Shopify theme, which is more product-focussed than some of the more minimalist templates available for purchase. However, there are some unnecessary indulgences and scripts that could be tweaked as they can make the navigation experience a bit clunky.”

 

#4 Split

Price: $180 / £130

 

Aesthetic appeal: 10/10

Mobile friendliness: 10/10

Ecommerce conversion: 8/10

 

With its strong and stand-out visual approach, this theme would be a great fit for any visually striking brands looking to showcase large, high-quality images of cutting-edge apparel.

The home page features a seamless and stylish slideshow to make an impression on visitors from the outset, while upselling and customer engagement are made easy through Split’s related product module, popup mailing list form and the option to display customer reviews of each product.

Notably, Split also enables you to build your brand’s online following as it integrates social media into the aesthetic of your website, allowing you to showcase Twitter and Instagram posts in a polished social feed grid.

And for mobile?

Each of Split’s three unique and highly responsive presets have a ‘mobile first’ approach, allowing shoppers to easily purchase products no matter where they are. Split is therefore a solid choice for fashion-forward brands in search of a website design that is both aesthetically compelling and widely accessible.

 

Comments from a Shopify Plus Designer: “Split is a nicely built theme with some lovely sleek transitions and an eye-catching, image-focussed design. The prominent calls to action on these images are great for encouraging customers to make purchases and, importantly, the header space is also used very efficiently. The mobile friendliness of the Split template is a real plus as this has become a vital consideration in the world of ecommerce. However, the design could be strengthened in terms of desktop accessibility as the optional multi-level, slide-out sidebar is not visible on desktops. It would also boost conversion rates if product names and prices were immediately visible on each page without the customer having to scroll over an image first.”

 

#3 Icon

Price: $140 / £100

 

Aesthetic appeal: 10/10

Mobile friendliness: 10/10

Ecommerce conversion: 8/10

 

The focus of Icon is to provide a stunning visual experience for every shopper. In each of the three sleek layouts available, stores looking to showcase beautiful and elegant clothing can feature bold background images and sliders on their website’s home page. You may also display product photos as well as text in the drop-down menu and present eye-catching Instagram posts in a full-width social feed.

This theme boasts an array of technical features to help provide a seamless shopping experience to visiting customers, such as next and previous buttons, the option to zoom in and out of product photos, and a quick view function which allows shoppers to get a better look at each product without even moving to a different page.

Icon’s fully responsive design makes websites easy to access from all devices, and allows for a slick and animated shopping experience through features such as smooth parallax scrolling and sticky navigation to keep product menus fixed to the top of the page when scrolling.

 

Comments from a Shopify Plus Designer: “The designers of Icon have clearly thought about the larger inventory experience, with this template being aimed at companies with a large volume of products to sell. This is an extremely well laid-out theme with an almost optimal header layout and some great features such as the sticky navigation bar and a large attention-grabbing add to cart button on each product page. However, this template would perhaps be more effective when accessed on desktop as there are so many smaller images laid out on the mobile product menus. Furthermore, while the desktop parallax scrolling is a glamorous touch, it can actually distract from calls to action and will be ineffective on mobile devices.”

 

#2 Turbo

Price $350 / £251

 

Aesthetic appeal: 9/10

Mobile friendliness: 10/10

Ecommerce conversion: 10/10

 

Although it may be the most expensive theme in this premium list, Turbo’s blazing fast speed and optimum website performance make it a perfect fit for any clothing store looking to provide customers with an ultra-fast, seamless shopping experience.

Turbo is rich in features, boasting infinite scrolling, a home page photo gallery, the option to display of associated brand logos, integrated customer testimonials, product row sliders and even two separate speed modes.

The updated 2.2 release introduces a whole new slew of functions, such as an FAQ template, a text column section, a range of new Google fonts and a new preset to opt for.

If you’re willing to invest in giving your store a stand-out high-speed edge, without compromising on flair or flexibility, Turbo is definitely a template worth considering.

 

Comments from a Shopify Plus Designer: “Performance is everything, and the incredibly high speed of this template alone is enough to make it worth considering when setting up an online clothing store. In particular, Google loves websites which can perform as quickly as this, making Turbo ideal for the search engine optimisation of your brand. The theme is also well laid-out and feature-rich, making it a good all-round Shopify template.”

 

#1 District

Price: $160 / £115

 

Aesthetic appeal: 9/10

Mobile friendliness: 10/10

Ecommerce conversion: 8/10

 

This template offers three distinct styles, all highly customisable and easy to navigate, so that no matter the vibe of your clothing store, you’ll find an ideal District design to showcase your products.

Ideal for displaying apparel and accessories in a fresh and eye-catching way, this theme boasts some exciting aesthetic features such as full-width Instagram integration, an optional home page video and a dynamic header slideshow.

District also makes it easy to flaunt your store’s sales and discounts via a promotional banner and marketing pop-ups which can be used to encourage visitors to sign up to your mailing list.

Importantly, this template is also fully responsive, meaning it looks just as good on mobiles and other devices, where over 50% of ecommerce sales now take place.

With its impressive 100% positive customer rating, District has proven itself to be one of the best presets for showcasing modern apparel professionally and elegantly, helping you build your online following and boost your conversion rate simultaneously.

 

Comments from a Shopify Plus Designer: “This theme is fresh and attractive, with well laid-out product pages in particular. From a sales perspective, it also has some useful built-in features such as a product filter option and related products function, which is great for continuing the user journey. However, if I was looking to strengthen this design, I would make the header space of this layout smaller and more efficient by drawing out key user empowerment tools such as the cart and search bar as this traditionally increases sales.” 

 

The Top 5 Free Shopify Themes

 

If you’re starting up your store on a budget, Shopify also offers a range of beautifully designed templates completely free of charge to help get you started on your journey to ecommerce success. Here are some of the best.  

 

#5 Minimal

 

Aesthetic appeal: 7/10

Mobile friendliness: 6/10

Ecommerce conversion: 7/10

 

As its name suggests, Minimal keeps things simple and allows your product images to stand in the spotlight of your Shopify store. 

In addition to its uncomplicated, clear-cut design, Minimal possesses a range of useful features to keep your store’s conversion rate high, such as a related products module, an enhanced product filtering tool and the option to add photo sliders and videos sharing your brand’s story to your home page.

With its straightforward yet stylish approach to website design, Minimal ensures that even users with the least experience in ecommerce website building can publish clothing products to their clothing store with ease.

 

Comments from a Shopify Plus Designer: “The prominent search bar function is extremely useful for increasing the customer usability of this theme. As with many free website templates, however, Minimal appears to be limited in terms of customisation options and has a rather narrow on-screen appearance. The product menu is also considerably less developed when accessed by mobile.” 

 

#4 Boundless

 

Aesthetic appeal: 6/10

Mobile friendliness: 10/10

Ecommerce conversion: 7/10

 

Boundless is geared towards fashion-forward clothing brands who want their product photographs to speak for themselves.

Some of this minimalist template’s most dynamic visual features include a fading homepage slideshow and edge-to-edge collection photos which must be clicked on to access more information about each item on its product page.

To ensure you are able to reach Boundless’ full potential as a website layout, it is therefore important to make sure you have enough products and high-quality product images to allow the focus to remain solely on the aesthetics of your merchandise.

 

Comments from a Shopify Plus Designer: “The Boundless theme is clearly optimised for mobile performance, which is a real strength. When accessed by mobile, for example, the menu, cart and search bar are very obvious and well-placed, which is ideal for increasing a store’s conversion rate. However, the desktop browsing experience is much less pleasurable, with the hamburger menu potentially affecting the usability of a website.” 

 

#3 Simple

 

Aesthetic appeal: 6/10

Mobile friendliness: 10/10

Ecommerce conversion: 8/10

 

Those in search of a generically product-focussed, no-fuss approach to website design need look no further than Simple.

Although it may not offer any of the fancy frills exhibited by premium themes, this template does provide everything shoppers need for a straightforward navigation experience and even offers some useful extra features such as a product image zoom function and a related products module to allow for easy upselling.

Because of its simplicity, this theme also looks clean and fresh on all devices.

While Simple is therefore not ideal for brands looking for an eye-catching, stand-out design, it is efficient, functional and easy to navigate, making it a solid starter theme for those who are just starting out in the world of ecommerce.

 

Comments from a Shopify Plus Designer: “The appeal of this theme lies in is its completely uncluttered and product-focussed design. The ability to add promotional call-outs to product photos is also a nice touch. However, accordian-style sidebar menus positioned to the left of the page have been shown to discourage customer interaction, and product filtering options are also limited with this template.” 

 

#2 Supply

 

Aesthetic appeal: 7/10

Mobile friendliness: 8/10

Ecommerce conversion: 9/10

 

What makes this classic theme stand out most is the ease of its navigation, with integrated features such as the related products function allowing for easy upselling and so boosting the conversion rate of your store.

Finding specific clothing products is made straightforward thanks to Supply’s bold search function and sidebar filtering feature, but customers will also be constantly exposed to new collections, top selling products and featured items throughout their user journey, meaning more ‘browsers’ will become buyers of products they may not have even considered before.

If you have a larger inventory of products to sell, therefore, Supply is a very solid free theme to consider launching your online store with.

 

Comments from a Shopify Plus Designer: “The calls to action on this theme’s header are ideally placed, and although the use of space in this template is not necessarily the most efficient, the positioning of the cart and search bar is perfect. The product pages in particular, although simple, are very effectively laid out. Like most free themes, however, Supply is very low on added functionality and will not allow you to display much additional information on each product page.” 

 

#1 Brooklyn

 

Aesthetic appeal: 7/10

Mobile friendliness: 8/10

Ecommerce conversion: 8/10

 

Brooklyn offers two distinct presets, one of which is suited to adult wear while the other is tailored towards children’s clothing.

With its focus on product imagery, the mobile friendly design of this template is simple and efficient, featuring straightforward navigation, bold product photos and prominent calls to action.

Although advanced customisation options may be relatively limited, Brooklyn is a great starter theme for modern clothing stores looking to begin showcasing and selling their merchandise online in a visually engaging way.

 

Comments from a Shopify Plus Designer: “This theme is clearly focussed on its essentials, and the feel of the template is uncluttered, spacious and fresh. The fact that sizing is available at a glance on product pages, rather than only accessible via a drop-down menu, is a nice touch, as is the alternative product menu layout which gives certain products more featured space than others. The fact that shoppers don’t even have to leave the page to see what’s in their cart also makes the design ideal for purchasing smaller quantities of clothing. When accessed by mobile, however, the search bar is hidden, decreasing the usability of the theme.” 

 

To conclude

Clearly, there is an abundance of attractive, effective themes on the market to choose from.

However, even with the more flexible of these presets, be prepared to accept that ultimately all of these mass-marketed templates will be somewhat generic as they have been created to be applicable to lots of different businesses rather than carefully crafted for your specific brand.

If you’re looking to really make the most of your online presence and have the capital to invest in the success of your business, why not go the extra mile and consult a Shopify Expert to ensure your website is truly one of a kind?

 

At Swanky, our expert team are passionate about designing uniquely customised, beautiful, high-quality websites to help you unlock your full ecommerce potential and reap all of the exciting benefits of owning an exquisite Shopify store. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you are interested in finding out more.

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About the author

Esther Lowde

Esther is one of Swanky's content experts. Her blogs specialise in website design, search engine optimisation and marketing strategy, teaching ecommerce store managers around the world how to make the most of their presence online.

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