A Guide to Australian Label

I never expected that when I went for my Holiday to Melbourne I was going to shop much. All I remember there, was that everything costs A LOT! Everything is expensive and mostly made by Australian labels. You will find very few known high-street label. Last time I was there (around 7 years ago), Mango was just opening it’s first store at the heart of the city. From what I heard, everything there cost almost twice from what it was back then.

Since most of the labels there would be quite foreign to most ears, here are few labels that worth checking out if you happen to plan a visit to the down under. Please bear with me, this post would most probably be lengthy and boring :) But it might be useful as a shopping reference.

Cheap

Of course there were some cheap stuff as well. But cheap in Australia doesn’t translate into below $10 price tag. I did mention that everything there is expensive right? These are the stores where the quality are just so so, the style changes every five seconds following the trend and most likely the goods are made in China. Pretty much the same stuff that you will get at Forever 21, if you need comparison. These kinds of stores are good to catch up with the latest trend, but not to invest in something long lasting. Supre is one of the biggest one I’ve seen there. They have a really huge store in the middle of Bourke Street, in City area. This is the ‘center’ of rows of street in the city area where all the shopping centre and shops are located. I would avoid the cheap looking store altogether, because it ain’t worth the money. You might as well shop in ITC.

Other brand that you might want to check are Cotton On & Rubi (although they’re cheaper in Singapore!), Valley Girl & Glassons.

Decent

When I mean decent here is not that it has a decent price tag, but the price tag = decent quality which you can understand why you’re paying as much. You’ll find many stores in Australia with names you haven’t heard before. Why? Of course because all of them are from Australia! I think being geographically far from the rest of the world makes it more expensive for them to import stuff from other countries. Also, they’re experiencing seasons which were always different from the rest of the world, so they can’t really follow the traditional seasonal fashion. Take it this way, they’re either one season behind or more advance :)

Most of the stores in Australia are within this range. Basic tees will cost AUD 20 – 40, tops & blouse AUD 70 +, jeans AUD 60 + and (Australian) designer jeans can go up to AUD 200! Outerwear and coats goes well up to AUD 150 + whereas simple dresses can cost AUD 100. With that in mind, don’t be surprised that a cocktail dress can easily cost you AUD 200!  Yeap, I know that sounds crazy right! I was just giving you the average picture on pricing here.

Anyway, the good thing is, most of the stuff I bought back in Australia when I was still in college are mostly still fully intact! That is after 8 years or more. I even have a few boho tops that I used to wear every other day that are still hanging on my closet (if you didn’t believe me, I’ll take a Today’s Outfit with it one of these days :) ). So really, you’re paying for quality here. It’s not something that you throw out after a few use.

Brands to check are Forever New, Portmans, Dotti, Bardot, Pilgrim, Kookai & De Cjuba.

By the way, Kookai‘s stores always stock a wide variety of basic top and their dresses, tops and frills always look so feminine. Funnily, their stuff are not the same with the french brand Kookai although they bearthe same name. As for Bardot & Dotti, I always check them out because they always carry the latest style. One brand that caught my attention is Forever New, I don’t know how to best describe them, maybe they’re like Miss Selfridge? Whereas the old time favourite Sportsgirl is getting more pricier each day! But you know what I did on all of these stores? I just ran directly to the sale rack, because I know I couldn’t afford their full price stuff anyway. They always have sale corner at the back of the store which is worth checking.

Middle

Brands that are in this price category usually have more long lasting design, they stick to the basic but still following the trend of the season. Think of the clean and chic design of Max Mara. They tend to embrace women’s body shape. They cater for more mature women which are already on their late 20s or 30s and need something that they can take from day-time office look to a dinner or just drinks with friends during the night.

Think about this season’s trend instilled in the subtlest way possible. I don’t know why, but the Australians always have this laid back and casual chic style written all over them. So it’s only natural that most of the labels there have this kind of style.

My favourite no nonsense store is Witchery, although sometime their pricing could be quite ridiculous for the basic items such as simple tee and shirt, but I’m still quite fond of this label. I also like Review because they have a very feminine design and their stuff really flatter my curve. Other within this category are Saba, Country Road, Cue and Jigsaw.

Expensive

Scanlan & Theodore’s boutique at Chapel St, Melbourne

When I mean expensive, it really does go into designers range already. Australian designers such as Scanlan & Theodore, Alannah Hill and Colette Dinigan have been known there for quite sometime. The local people are very loyal to their designers, that wearing the latest Alannah Hill dress is just as chic as wearing a Vivienne Westwood’s (they have the same quirky style BTW :) ). It’s like they have been brainwashed to love products originated from their country, which is good right? Sass & Bide has been widely known in the United Kingdom because SJP love their jeans. Other uprising designer are Yojin Bae, Lover and Alice Mccall.

And … if you want to know which high street label is available in Australia? So far I only manage to saw GAP and Mango. I did not come across other labels while I was there.

You should also check label such as Satch and Bettina Liano, they make amazing jeans!

I’m sure they’re many labels that I miss. If you happen to know any other Australian labels that FDers should check while they’re there, please feel free to add your recommendation at the comment box.