Brisbane for fashion lovers

Move over Melbourne and Sydney – Brisbane is Australia’s next fashion capital

  • Kitty Danger

Often in the sartorial shadows of Melbourne and Sydney, you might be surprised to find that Brisbane is in fact bursting with some of the coolest designers and stores in the country. An underground swell of hip designers and curators are laying claim to shop-fronts across the city, bringing everything from funky to fabulous into the wardrobes of those in the know.

We discover five of Brissie’s best spots to get a fashion fix while in the sunshine state – and they are all in the hip suburb of Fortitude Valley.

Designer goddess: Gail Sorronda

Brisbane designer Gail Reid’s only solo store is sitting pretty just off fashion hub James Street in Fortitude Valley. Its vine-covered walls point to a chic, minimal interior. Moody yet feminine, Gail’s inspired designs are best described as “black-and-white dark romanticism”. She has piqued interest globally, too. Karl Lagerfeld recently named her as one to watch, and Dolce & Gabbana selected her garments to be stocked in their Milan store. Not to mention her 2015 fairytale collaboration with Disney’s The Little Mermaid!

Despite her international accolades, Gail’s decision to open the doors in Brisbane was an easy one: “I have lived most of my life in Brisbane and I have a lot of support here, it was only natural,” says Gail. “And I always say the quality of light here is magical – it charges me like a crystal.”

Shop 8, 19 James St, Fortitude Valley, +61 07 3252 5917gailsorronda.com opens in new window

Go label crazy: Blonde Venus

An anything-but-ordinary Brisbane institution, Blonde Venus has been bringing cool to the city’s streets since 1990. Local fashion icon and Blonde Venus owner, Thea Basiliou, scouts the globe to bring niche brands into her eclectic boutique.

“I always try to bring new labels to the store that people may not have seen before, and support upcoming designers – particularly small collections from local labels that you won’t find anywhere else,” says Thea.

The store stocks both international and Australian talent, including French label Jacquemus, and Melbourne brand Dress Up. If you’re after standout pieces, this is the boutique to visit. Take a piece of Brisbane home in your suitcase with local labels, including Harriet Sutherland’s so-cool-it-hurts leather collars and Holly Ryan’s beautifully delicate jewellery designs.

Shop 3, 181 Robertson St, Fortitude Valley, +61 07 3216 1735, blondevenus.com.au opens in new window

Deck yourself in patterns: House of Cards

Sometimes the best places are the hardest to find. It’s true for Brisbane label, House of Cards, which has its flagship store in Winn Lane, right behind Ann Street in Fortitude Valley.

Designer Ashiya Omundsen’s collections turn the mundane and uninteresting into the inspirational. Since launching the label in 2010, Ashiya knows exactly what devotees of the brand want to fill their wardrobe with each season.

“Our customer dresses to express themselves, isn’t hung up on trends, and needs to have a touch of colour – always!” says Ashiya.

Boyfriends needn’t hover awkwardly in the doorway here; Ashiya’s kooky cool designs extend to a men’s range, too (hello, matching outfits)!

5C Winn Lane, Fortitude Valley, 0435 881 864, houseofcardslabel.com

Accessories with stone: Molten Store

Stepping into this ethereal store sees tables drip with ornate crystal and gold curios. If you’re lucky, a harpist will be strumming serenely in the corner. This is the world of Molten Store, the online jewellery business brought into the real world by owner Jessy Cameron in its new James Street home.

After starting the store from her lounge room in 2011, the allure of launching a physical incarnation of the brand, coupled with the demand from Brisbane fans, inspired Jessy to open a flagship boutique.

“Our Brisbane customer base has cheered us on as we’ve grown up, so choosing to open our flagship in our home town was our way of expressing our gratitude. James Street is the perfect spiritual home for our brand. It’s a directional interpretation of the high street with a strong sense of neighbourhood,” says Jessy.

Brimming with beautiful accessories, be sure to fawn over Jessy’s perfectly bohemian edit of jewels, scents and accoutrement from across the globe.

Shop 1, 49 James St, Fortitude Valley, moltenstore.com opens in new window

Pre-loved gorgeousness: Sunday Social

Looking for handpicked vintage, sourced direct from destinations such as Japan and California? Then make Sunday Social your first stop.

Curated by owner Jess Barty, this sweet, sunny store has been bringing vintage goodness to Brisbane for the past four years. After selling her pieces at local markets, Jess set up shop in Winn Lane.

“We stock new and vintage items, so most things we carry are one-offs or small runs. Most things we carry can’t be bought elsewhere. Our customers like that they’re getting something original,” says Jess.

Spend hours dreaming of ’60s vacations with Jess’s well-stocked racks of pre-loved vintage clothing, walls stacked high with hats, and buckets of kitschy-cool jewellery.

5D Winn Lane, Fortitude Valley, sundaysocialstore.com opens in new window