With the festive season nearly upon us, it’s time to start filling those stockings. But instead of hitting the internet or the mall, put a bit more thought into your gift giving this year. Here, we’ve come up with five stores where you can buy pieces designed and made in Melbourne. Not only do you get to give some pretty cool pressies – cue smug smile at the Christmas dinner table – but you’ll also be supporting the people who make them. What’s not to like?
1 OBJECT OF DESIRE
‘Everything handmade’ is the motto at Fitzroy’s Guild of Objects, where co-owners Kristine Alleva and Janine Hendry are on a mission to bring beautiful handmade objects to the masses. “As a society we are starting to care more about where our stuff comes from and about the kinds of things we want in our homes,” says Hendry, and we agree. In store the pair stocks ceramicists galore – check out James Lemon’s tactile reclaimed clay pieces (pictured left) – but also chunky copper bangles from Melanie Rice, natural fibre art by Poa & Pod and beautiful prints by visual artist Elizabeth Barnett.
2 A LOCAL GEM
Alisdair MacKinnon set up Brunswick East design store The Boroughs in 2008 with the aim to create a retail space that “feels like a friend picked things they knew you’d love and put it all under one roof”. As a result, 80 per cent of the stock is produced within 10 kilometres of the store. Check out leather goods from IE Francis, ceramicist Pegs Marlow’s wine cups, jewellery by Kate Dansey and the work of independent artists, including Edith Rewa (above) and Chloe Smith. Looking for a small token of your appreciation? Don’t miss The Boroughs’ exclusive range of handcrafted chocolate, a collaboration with chocolatier Monsieur Truffe and artists Chloe Smith and Edith Rewa.
3 GET CRAFTY
It may have been founded in 1970, but not-for-profit organisation Craft has always moved with the times. In October 2017, it established swanky new digs in the CBD’s Watson Place, with a store, three galleries and a public library. Dedicated to supporting contemporary Australian craft and design, the store has myriad goods from Victorian makers, such as potter Terunobu Hirata’s ceramic sake set and exquisite leather wallets from husband and wife designers Scottie Neoh and Natalia Perez of Tailfeather. But if you’re looking for exquisite jewellery (above), pieces by Abby Seymour, Sonya Kelly and Andrea Simmons, are sure to inspire.
4 MELBOURNE MAD
If the words ‘Melbourne souvenir’ make you think of a plastic replica of the Arts Centre spire, Melbournalia is the perfect antidote. Yes, there are Flinders Street Station tea towels and cushions bedecked with local landmarks, but they are so beautifully realised you won’t be able to resist. Other goodies include vegan toiletries from Kleins Perfumery, Australian botanical crockery from Angus & Celeste, and Melbournalia’s own collection with designs drawn by Hollie M Kelley (above). The former pop-up store now has a permanent Bourke Street home, where founder Jenny Brown is dedicated to stocking “the freshest design talent and the stories that make this city so special”.
5 LIVING IN A BOX
Described as a “handmade mecca and emerging artist gallery”, Fitzroy’s in.cube8r is home to almost a hundred local creatives selling hand-crafted goods and visual art. The artists rent cubes, shelves, racks and walls to display their wares and keep 100 per cent of the profits. Current cubers include B.Ties and its bespoke bow ties (above), medical-inspired jewellery and science-themed candles from Mad Science at Work, and cute cacti and succulents from Laris Manis Succulents.
Photography: Adrian Lander
Styling: Karen Evans