As Australia’s Fashion Capital, Melbourne has countless clothing boutiques and designer-run shops. While many of the big labels can be found in the main shopping areas listed in previous sections, like most other cultural aspects of Melbourne, the best kept secrets and most unique designer storefronts are waiting around a laneway corner, waiting for the intrepid and curious to find them, or to be shared by those in the know.
The following businesses come highly recommended, and will give you a good range of uniquely Melbourne style, with most of the clothes on offer coming from local, award-winning designers.
17 Howey Pl, CBD
03 9654 9203
533 Chapel St, South Yarra
03 9826 2755
Melbourne’s premiere fashion designer favoured by Australian celebrities. Ranging from unique casual dresses to elegant gowns, most women in Melbourne could find either of these shops blindfolded.
Scarlett & Sly
Shop 13, Centre Place, 258 Flinders Lane, CBD
03 9650 0075
261 Brunswick St, Fitzroy
03 9417 6677
A little shop full of good looking, affordable clothes and accessories.
Shop 22, Centre Place, 258 Flinders Lane, CBD
(03) 9650 0465
2/360 Brunswick St, Fitzroy
122 Greville St, Prahran
03 9529 4599
A favourite of those with bold tastes. A very cute, very Melbournian shop with colourful clothes, shoes, bags and accessories. The yearly sale here is not to be missed and is considered to be a significant event by many.
Shop 6, Cathedral Arcade, 37 Swanston Street, CBD
03 9650 4300
Gorgeous clothes and jewellery. Everything is Australian made and designed.
Shop 5, Cathedral Arcade, 37 Swanston Street, CBD
Super cute accessories, kids clothes, and great gift items. All in bold, cute, retro Japanese, kitsch style.
Corky Saint Clair
Shop 3, Cambell Arcade, Degraves Street Subway, CBD
Storefront of amazingly talented, pseudonym-ed independent jewelery designer. Carries clothes matched to his elegant and playful pieces.
The Cats Meow
Shop 9, Cambell Arcade, Degraves Street Subway, CBD
03 9654 3011
Great range of clothes, handbags, accessories and jewelery by independent Melbourne based designers.
Shop 238, Level 2, Melbourne Central, 211 La Trobe Street, CBD
A retail and working space that hosts more than 20 young, emerging Melbourne fashion and jewelery designers. This a great place to pick up completely new and innovative clothes and accessories that will be on the catwalk next year.
Douglas and Hope
282-290 Collins St, CBD
03 9650 0585
80 Johnston St, Fitzroy
03 9417 0662
Lovely clothes, shoes, bags, jewelery, accessories, gifts, and toys from one of Melbourne’s most awarded textile designers.
227 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy
03 9415 9588
Fantastic selection of clothes, accessories, jewelery, hats, retro toys, homewares, stationery, and wonderful little gifts.
Melbourne Central, 211 La Trobe St, CBD
0422 193 791
Eclectic T-shirts, toys, gadgets and great gifts.
The tree-lined “Paris End” of Collins Street (starting at Spring Street and heading west) is where you’ll find high-end designer labels, such as Tiffany’s, Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and Polo Ralph Lauren. There is also Country Road, Kookai, Nine West, Saba, and Cue, which stock brands such as Yves Saint Laurent, Stellar McCartney, Alexander McQueen and Elie Saab.
Chapel Street in South Yarra is sometimes referred to as “The intestine of Melbourne.” It’s long, important, and has an unsavoury end (the southern bit). The feeling of Chapel Street is much more upmarket and mainstream than the CBD, and many of the shoppers come to be seen, not just shop. Most of the big name designer labels are pretty much what you will find in the city, but the shops are slightly smaller and the service is more personalised. The shops are spaced closely together so there is less walking in between, but the road is seemingly endless, so wear comfortable shoes. Outlets have labels on offer such as Seduce, MAC, Pierucci, FCUK, Ojay, Gant, Arthur Galan, Marcs, Pilgrim, Adias, Wayne Cooper, Scanlan & Theodore, Collette Dinigan, Karen Millen, Review, Sportsgirl, Gorman, Mimco, Country Road.
Just the Basics
For general basics (such as comfortable plain white t-shirts for around $30) the following stores are a safe bet for women or men. All have multiple outlets or branches around the city, so check websites to find the one closest to you.
- Jay Jays: http://www.jayjays.com.au
- Cotton On: http://www.cottonon.com.au
- Jeans West: http://www.jeanswest.com.au
- Just Jeans: http://www.justjeans.com.au
- Bardot: http://www.bardot.com.au
- Diva: http://www.diva.net.au
- Dotti: http://www.dotti.com.au
- Kikki K: http://www.kikki-k.com.au
- Supre: http://www.supre.com.au
- Payless Shoes: http://www.paylessshoes.com.au
Nothing Too Fancy
For those in their thirties and forties who are looking for quality, interesting clothing, but with understated design and a mid-range price ($30 – $300 per item), the following chains are recommended. Again, all have multiple locations so check the websites.
- CUE: http://www.cue.com.au
- Guess: http://www.guess.com
- ESPRIT: http://www.esprit.com.au
- Ally Fashion: http://www.allyfashion.com
- Country Road: http://www.countryroad.com.au
- French Connection: http://www.frenchconnection.com.au
- Angus & Coote: http://www.anguscoote.com.au
- Bras’n Things: http://www.brasnthings.com.au
- Laura Ashley: http://www.laura-ashley.com.au
- Lorna Jane: http://www.lornajane.com.au
- Saba: http://www.saba.com.au
- Mimco: http://www.mimco.com.au
- Scooter: http://www.scootershoes.com.au
- Sportsgirl: http://www.sportsgirl.com.au
- WITCHERY: http://www.witchery.com.au
- Wittner: http://www.wittner.com.au
- Veronika Maine: http://www.veronikamaine.com.au
- Colorado: http://www.colorado.com.au
- Equip: http://www.equipyourself.com.au
- General Pants Co.: http://www.generalpants.com.au
- Glue: http://www.gluestore.com.au
- Aldo: http://www.aldoshoes.com
- Industrie: http://www.industrie.com.au
- Rivers: http://www.rivers.com.au
Young at Heart, but Age Appropriate
For women in their fifties and sixties who know their own style and want classic, well-made pieces in a mid-range budget ($40 – $500 per item). These brands have many locations, so it’s worth checking the website to find the one closest to you.