Let’s Get Personal

Stand out from the crowd in fashion and accessories created just for you. Lisa Smyth uncovers the creative teams making custom designs.

Fashion has always followed trends, and the biggest one today is, well, you. An increasing number of Melbourne designers are now offering the option of customising their collections so that the clothes, shoes, bags and accessories in your wardrobe are all entirely unique. Whether you prefer to order a made-to-measure piece or add your mark to a finished product, you can now collaborate with the city’s best bespoke brands on all the fashion essentials.

1 On the Chain

When Suzy Barber’s first baby was born, she wanted to honour the occasion by getting a tattoo or a necklace with her child’s name on it – luckily for us her choice led to the first custom Misuzi necklace. Nine years later her raw, natural style shines through in the label’s ready-to-wear range, but you’re also able to put your own stamp on one of her custom pieces. Minimalistic and delicate, all jewellery is handmade in the local studio.

2 Suits You, Sir

Esquire dubbed him ‘The Wizard from Oz’, and Patrick Johnson’s tailoring know-how (pictured) has men from Melbourne to London clamouring for one of his lightweight, made-to-measure suits. Having begun his career working on Savile Row, Johnson has now opened his P. Johnson showrooms in Sydney, Melbourne, London and New York, while 62 artisans at an atelier in Tuscany construct each of the label’s suits by hand. Johnson wants all his clients to “wear a suit in the same way that you wear pyjamas – unconsciously”. Make an appointment at the Windsor or CBD showrooms and have a perfectly fitted suit created for work or play.

3 Bags of Style

Fitzroy-based All the Kings Men has been creating stylish, locally made leather and canvas bags for the past 15 years. With a focus on quality materials and innovation, the company recently employed a 3D printer to help design its new bag clips. You can choose to emboss your name, initials or a personal message on any product, and authenticity is so important to the team that it has just ordered its first batch of ‘identity leather’. “All of our products have a story behind them, a history,” says digital and retail coordinator, Dale Wilde. “And now we will be able to tell our customers exactly which farm their leather came from.”

4 The Next Step

From a backyard shed in St Kilda, Annie Abbott launched her independent women’s footwear brand Habbott in 2011. If you love bright colours and classic European styling these are the shoes for you. Habbott began offering customisation across four key signature styles in 2016, and you can choose from 24 different colour and material options. Your design is then sent to Italy to be handmade, and is ready for a Sunday stroll on Lygon Street within a month of ordering.

5 Couture Queen

She has spent the past 20 years creating bespoke, one-of-a-kind clothing for the women of Melbourne. Adhering to the principles of slow fashion, Julie Goodwin of Julie Goodwin Couture designs annual collections, which you can then tailor according to your tastes, at her studio in Albert Park. “Everything I do is made to measure,” she says. “Colour, style and proportion can all be changed to suit the person’s individuality and comfort levels.”