Home to an enterprising population of creative, crafty types, Melbourne is one of the best places in Australia to pick up locally-produced fashion, homewares, accessories and art. From small boutiques nestled down city laneways to outdoor markets bursting with local talent and hip studios filled with edgy, one-of-a-kind buys, shopping Melbourne’s makers is a fun way to pick up a unique keepsake or two to remember the city by.
Shops & Boutiques
While Melbourne has its fair share of modern malls, it’s the urban shopping strips, city laneways and neighbourhood villages that are favoured by Melbourne’s small businesses.
Many artists, ceramicists, designers and furniture makers have set up shop in the cool inner northern neighbourhoods of Collingwood, Fitzroy and Brunswick, with Smith Street, Gertrude Street, Brunswick Street and surrounds home to many locally-owned boutiques. In Collingwood, shoppers can buy Melbourne-made merino leggings in distinct colours and zany prints at Adventure Pants by Captain Robbo while in Fitzroy beautiful, beaded gowns up the romance factor at the dreamy boutique of in-demand Melbourne fashion designer Gwendolynne Burkin. Over in Brunswick East, The Boroughs showcases the work of many talented local designers under one roof including beaded necklaces by Emily Green and vintage-style Melbourne neighbourhood pennants by Cottage Industry.
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. 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 Melbourne 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.
Galleries & Studios
Sometimes set up as a collective, other times owned and run by the makers themselves, Melbourne’s small galleries and studios are a great place for visitors to connect with the city’s working artists and makers.
Located on vibrant Smith Street, Incub8r is a retail space where artists and makers can showcase their wares for customers to buy. Also on Smith Street, The Social Studio is a not-for-profit retail space run by local youth from refugee and migrant backgrounds. At The Social Studio, shoppers can not only pick up some handmade, locally-designed fashion but also help support emerging fashion designers at the same time. Open on Friday and Saturday, ceramicists at design studio Cone 11 welcome visitors to their working studio located within the Abbotsford Convent complex. Here, visitors can meet the makers and browse the inventive ceramics this label is known for creating. One of Victoria’s largest and oldest arts organisations, Craft is set to open the doors to its new home in Watson Place early this month. Dedicated to championing and showcasing the work of Victoria’s supremely talented craftspeople, the space will serve as a retail and gallery space for Victoria’s established and emerging makers.
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 graffiti-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 stationary 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 from 10am – 4pm. 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, hand painted tea towels and silver jewellery handmade in Melbourne. 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 on a monthly basis 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, kid’s 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 big on creativity, all spectrums of Melbourne’s artisans and makers are represented.