Melbourne’s hipster haven Fitzroy is home to dozens of superb restaurants, watering holes, and independent boutiques. As the oldest suburb in Melbourne, Fitzroy has a je ne sais quoi that draws people in, and it’s not just the nonchalant beanie-d herds. The susurrus of gentrification has become a constant accompaniment, though it has yet to drown out the vibrant chatter that emanates from the main and side streets of this lively neighbourhood. Gertrude, Johnston, Smith, and Brunswick Streets are arteries that ceaselessly feed newness into the area—it seems that every few weeks there’s a new store or bar or restaurant or pop up mushrooming into existence. Read on for our best picks for where to shop and see cool things in and around the Fitzroy neighbourhood.
Melbournites like keeping things simple but elevated, an ethos that weaves through multiple aspects of their lives. There are a lot of local labels that focus on well-made basics using quality materials—B.O.Y.D Studio is one such example. Their physical store opened just a few months ago on Brunswick Street, stocking the in-house denim and lifestyle brand, as well as a few other sportswear brands like P.E Nation and Viktoria & Woods. Shirts and jeans take centre stage here. Kloke is another Melbourne brand that embraces classic and easy silhouettes that will earn a permanent place in your closet
A strong brand DNA creates a loyal following, a concept that is expressed in very different ways for these two womenswear labels. Arnsdorf opts for a bespoke experience that offers shoppers complimentary alterations to ensure a perfect fit, and is only made to order so there’s no overstock. Transparency and ethical production is a core component for this sustainable brand, extending across the supply chain. Their collections are basic without being boring, comprised of chic workplace appropriate apparel. Obus creates apparel that’s more experimental with print and colour, designed for the modern travelling woman. Think breezy, fun vacation vibes.
A retail concept that showcases sustainable brands like Amsterdam’s Kings of Indigo, Germany’s Jost, and Portugal’s EKN, Keoma truly practices what it preaches. The interior is furnished with vintage or recycled furniture, where jeans hang and shoes perch. They even offer a repair service for the products they sell in order to maximize their lifespan.Jeans are an extremely versatile item of clothing that can be dressed up or down, if only it’s easier to find a pair that fits well. Service Denim exists for you to find your perfect pair of jeans—you can find premium denim brands Neuw, Rollas, and Abrand being represented here, in every size, fit, and cut you can imagine. Free alteration services are also available.
If you’re more in the mood for home goods, Modern Times is a furniture showroom that plays host to art exhibitions from time to time. The style is mid-century European vintage with a touch of contemporary design. You can also find ceramics, jewellery, as well as textiles and prints by Australian artists. If you’re after something more whimsical, Takeawei is a quirky store lined with handmade ceramics in funky pastel swirls and kooky shapes by local ceramicist Chela Edmunds.
Sustainability and social responsibility aren’t just buzzwords in this city—it’s a way of life. Australian Stitch is a Melbourne-based brand specialising in casual but high-quality basics like t-shirts and tanks, working with local artists to create limited-edition collections using the artists’ original prints and designs. Their products are all locally made and ethically manufactured.Social enterprise HoMie is a streetwear label that donates all of its profits to help homeless youths, offering them employment and a way out of homelessness. Shop their beanies and hoodies for a good cause.
Second-hand and co-op shopping is extremely popular amongst cash-strapped students and the fashion crowd. It’s a great way to snag unique or designer pieces for a fraction of the price. Recycle is a consignment store with a carefully-vetted collection of clothing, shoes, and bags. You’ll often find luxury items hidden in plain sight. Another option close by is Swop, a treasure trove of 1980s and 1990s pieces.
For unique items indicative of the artisan scene in Melbourne, head over to In.cube8r in Fitzroy, a haven for budding designers and artists to showcase their talents. Lots of great gift ideas sorted and stuffed into cubicle spaces that creatives can rent. Bini Gallery stocks contemporary jewellery done in unexpected materials and shapes that are sure to fascinate, whether you’re buying or just browsing.
Artisan paper and stationery store Kami invites you to start journaling again with their exquisite paper products that resemble works of art. Experience the physical incarnation of Melbourne lifestyle when you head into Fitzroy shop Spacebound, an effortlessly cool concept store with well-designed fashion pieces and a collection of magazines meant to inspire.
Naturally, Melbourne cultivates a strong arts scene, and Fitzroy is one of its hubs. BSide Gallery is a creative platform dedicated to showcasing local artists, emerging and established. The multi-level space makes for an interesting journey through different forms of artistic expression, from photography to printmaking. Find contemporary Australian and New Zealand art at Sutton Gallery, a white cube gallery hosting solo and group exhibitions every month, spanning the spectrum of media.