Words by Sarah Petty Art by Griea Taylor
Although I have always been fond of the inexpensive jeans at Zara or the cosy jumpers I can find at H&M, there’s just something about walking into a one-of-a-kind shop and finding something truly unique. Whether you are looking for vintage clothes, cool gifts or simply are searching for new brands, pursuing stores beyond the big brands maybe what you’re after. Melbourne holds a treasure trove of independent stores, you just need to know where to look.
Shag is the epicentre of outrageous, extravagant and unique one-off clothing items across Melbourne. Sourcing far and wide, Shag has been buying clothing and accessories nationally and internationally since 1996. You can find one of their eclectic stores in either Windsor or Collingwood—the front door draped with beads and shop fronts flashing their latest finds. Packed to the ceiling with sequined bags, funky sunglasses and vintage jackets, Shag has something distinctive to add to everyone’s closet.
DESIGN A SPACE:
Design A Space was birthed from the difficulty upcoming fashion designers have in finding stores that are willing to sell their pieces. Design A Space showcases over 100 local and independent designers, allowing them to get a foot in the door within the fashion world. Established in 2006, their stores rotate designers monthly, offering an extensive range of apparel and accessories. Their stores can be found in Windsor, Fitzroy and the CBD and cater to almost every taste. You’ll come out parading unique threads and be helping out small artists at the same time.
OUT OF THE CLOSET:
Out of the Closet has specialised in fashionable vintage clothing, accessories and vinyl records since the late ‘80s. Offering vintage pieces from the likes of Tommy Hilfiger, FILA, Ralph Lauren and Nike, Out of the Closet brings what was once considered ‘out of style’ back into the fashion realm. Drawing inspiration from the ‘80s up to the early ‘00s, prepare your eyes for a spectrum of fluorescent bomber jackets, bum bags and high-waisted jeans upon walking into one of their Fitzroy or CBD stores.
Organic Crew is an ethical and sustainable clothing brand which sources organic cotton from Melbourne and Tirupur, India. The clothing brand is committed to upholding a sustainable development process from the cotton fields to the store floor. Organic Crew aims to not only provide ethical and organic cotton, but also educate their customers about the risks of commercial cotton farming that can leave consumers absorbing harmful pesticides. Located in Malvern and online, prepare to find yourself purchasing an array of incredibly comfy t-shirts, trackies and pyjamas!
Folkstore is a design label which draws inspiration from nature, creating whimsical, bohemian clothing made by Balinese tailors. The store in Fitzroy not only offers clothes but handcrafted goods, exhibiting Australian brands centred around ethical practices and celebrating the environment. Folkstore offers a range of books, kitchen amenities, jewellery and skincare alongside their clothing range, creating an environment where the customer feels as though they have just stepped off the beach.
THIRD DRAWER DOWN:
This Melbourne store, Third Drawer Down, collects a range of diverse and unique homewares, art, books and ceramics, celebrating both local and international designers. The company opened their quirky and innovative shop in 2003, seeking to showcase influential artists and their art on everyday items and giftwares. You’ll spot scarves printed with designs by Ai Weiwei, or a set of coasters decorated with art by Judy Chicago. In their 15 years, Third Drawer Down continues to revel in art with ironic, political, inspirational or witty messages that aims to both humour customers as well as make them question what’s behind their eccentric collections.
A store you may very well already be acquainted with, Dejour Jeans offers quality denim in every colour, size and style that you could imagine. The shop has been selling their now famous jeans since 1989, offering free tailoring unlike many other commercial stores. You will find this shop tucked away on Sydney Road in Brunswick hidden behind an unassuming shopfront. For the low price of $60, you can expect them to last a lifetime. It’s their consistent quality that continuously brings back customers in droves!