Modern day Melbourne has evolved into a place that beats to its own drum and fosters young creatives in all fields of design and fashion.
Melbourne’s retail renaissance continues to go from strength to strength with major international brands, including designer luxury labels and high street fashion chains, choosing to open their flagship stores in Melbourne to cement the city’s reputation as the fashion capital of Australia.
From maker's markets to high-end boutiques, city laneway surprises and pop-up stores, Melbourne is the epitome of style and a shopping destination of choice.
Five Melbourne must-shop destinations
Since opening its doors in 2014, Emporium Melbourne has carved itself a name as a must-visit on any Melbourne shopping expedition. It houses 225 shops and eateries over seven levels of retail heaven and boasts the largest collection of Australian designers under one roof. Highlight stores include Melbourne’s own Scanlan Theodore, Gorman, Mr Simple, Godwin Charli and Autonomy. Japanese Giant Uniqlo chose this location for its first Australian store, as did Zoo York, The Waiting Room by Dr Denim and Calvin Klein Watches + Jewellery. From here, it is easy to reach neighbouring shopping precincts QV, Melbourne Central, The Strand Melbourne and major department stores Myer and David Jones. Undercover walkways help to create one of Australia’s largest retail precincts, with more than 1000 retailers within two blocks.
City laneways and arcades
A trip to Melbourne would not be complete without getting a little lost amidst the laneways and arcades that typify the city. They are punctuated by some seriously stylish boutiques, including local designers LIFEwithBIRD, Nevenka, Alpha 60 and Kuwaii. For the finishing touches of any outfit, the city’s best accessories can be found at Christine (ladies), Lord Coconut (men), Craft (home to Victorian makers’ goods) and e.g.etal (a gallery-style display of contemporary Australian jewellery). And for up and coming designers and one-off treasures, Design A Space is the place to go.
St. Collins Lane is the latest destination for fashion in the city centre and is home to a range of luxury boutiques. Paris labels, Sandro and Maje, opened their first Australian flagship stores here, as did UK fashion house, REISS. They sit alongside international brands including Debenhams, TAG, Coach, Furla and The Kooples. On Level Two, The Aviary offers al fresco dining and sweeping city views.
Chadstone doesn’t it call itself The Fashion Capital for nothing. The shopping centre is home to almost 600 retailers including some of the world’s most iconic luxury designer stores, premium international retailers, and an exciting collection of flagships. Its recent $660 million evolution has reinforced the centre as one of the leading shopping centres in the world, with more than 70 new retail stores, two new dining precincts and a new cinema complex. In April, Chadstone welcomed Australia’s only LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre so the little ones can be kept entertained during a shopping spree. Chadstone is located half an hour south east of the city and is accessible via a free shuttle bus.
Fitzroy and Collingwood
On the other side of town, just 10 minutes north of the city, Gertrude Street, Fitzroy, is brimming with must-visit boutiques. Locally designed garments can be found at Leonard Street, The Signet Bureau, Alice Edgeley, Meagan Park and Tiffany Treloar. While those with a penchant for international style can head to Bruce and, for a touch of the bohemian, Who Invited Her. Rose Chong’s Costumiers is a must-visit for the eccentrically-inclined. Just around the corner, Smith Street is also home to a host of shopper-havens, Including In.cub8r where a range of local artisan pieces are on offer, and bespoke footwear designer Preston Zly.
South Yarra to Armadale
The city’s southside exudes luxury and its retailers emanate this vibe. Toorak Road in South Yarra and Malvern Road in Toorak are both home to a collection of high end designer stores, while Chapel Street remains one of the city’s most famed shopping destinations. Starting from Toorak Road, the street is lined with a broad range of fashion brands, from Melbourne’s own A’Esque, Gorman and White Suede to exclusive Australian designer stores including Zimmerman, Aje and Scanlan Theodore and fast-fashion favourites such as Dotti and Sportsgirl. A tram ride away, High Street, Armadale is a haven for leading Australian and international designer labels. Highlight stores include Melbourne designers búl, Lisa Barron, Thurley and Megan Park and bespoke accessory designer Stephanie Browne. The precinct also boasts one of the largest collections of bridal boutiques and services in a single location.
Home to a rotating mix of local artists and makers, the Rose Street Market is a longstanding fixture on the Melbourne market circuit and a favourite shopping spot with visitors from near and far. With a slant towards left-of-centre trends and ideas, the busy market is well suited to its urban location down a street art-filled backstreet of gritty Fitzroy. On any given weekend, visitors can buy everything from quirky, hand-sewn cushion covers to oversized skull rings, with the onsite café pumping out coffee and treats to people who want to linger longer. Shoppers can choose from a wide range of independent brands and labels that regularly set up shop at the market, including fun stationery by Able and Game, on-trend fashion from the mother daughter duo at Honest Studios, bold, handmade jewellery from Hutch Melbourne, and cute leather accessories by Polaroid Soup.
The team behind the Rose Street Market has recently introduced a new place to find art, craft and other creative curiosities: the Heide Makers’ Market. Held once a month within the sculpture garden of the Heide Museum of Modern Art, this laidback market connects local makers with astute shoppers on the lookout for creative pieces to inject life into their wardrobe and home. Visitors can stay to wander the picturesque grounds or view the modern and contemporary art exhibitions housed within the museum.
Found right in the centre of the city, the Arts Centre Melbourne Sunday Market is a hive of activity every Sunday. Shoppers can grab a latte from a coffee van and browse the stalls selling everything from clay pottery to jewellery boxes made from Australian timber, to hand painted tea towels to silver jewellery. A top spot for visitors to pick up a uniquely Melbourne souvenir, a stroll around the Art Centre Sunday Market is a must-do weekend activity.
As one of Melbourne’s longest running makers’ markets, the Hawthorn Craft Market is held monthly in the leafy suburb of Camberwell. Designers and artisans selling handmade cards, fashion, accessories, homewares, food and beauty products populate this friendly market with roving entertainers and a distinct community feel making it a hit with families.
Held several times throughout the year in the Brunswick Town Hall, the Sisters’ Market is where savvy locals go to find out-of-the-ordinary fashion, accessories, art, kids’ clothes and more. Stallholders range from crafty local mothers with a penchant for creating their own clothing, to students with a talent for jewellery design, and more established local brands keen to connect at a community level. At this casual neighbourhood market, all spectrums of Melbourne’s artisans and makers are represented.
In the city centre, the Royal Arcade is home to Melbourne Shop by Lumbi, an emporium dedicated to Australian-made and Melbourne-themed souvenirs, gifts and decorations. For people who can’t get enough of all things Melbourne, Bourke Street’s Melbournalia stocks enough paraphernalia to keep even the biggest of Melbourne fans happy. Shoppers can expect beer-flavoured chocolate by Melbourne chocolatier Monsieur Truffe, books by celebrated chefs from Melbourne and prints of the city’s iconic yellow and green trams. After a cup of coffee on Degraves Street, pop into Clementine’s, housing Victorian-made products.
Elsewhere in Melbourne, Prahran’s Lunar Store makes shopping local easy for visitors and residents alike with a store full of ceramics, homewares, books, bags and more made by local designers and brands. On the fringe of the city, Guild of Objects, a retail store, an exhibition space and place for fun, social crafting workshops in North Melbourne was founded to support a new generation of local makers, crafters, artists and artisans. Mr Kitly on Sydney Road, combines a shop, gallery and architecture studio in a Victorian-era building in Brunswick. The shop stocks a collection of functional objects in ceramic, wood and metal; kitchen utensils; textiles and fibre goods; reading matter related to crafts, design and architecture; bath products and soaps; tea and tea accoutrements, as well as indoor plants. Third Drawer Down off Gertrude Street, Fitzroy offers a curated collection of unique homewares, gifts and artist collaborations.
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