Arabella Ramsay, Armadale, Melbourne, Australia
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Fashion

Having sewn their first fashion seeds in various garages and bungalows around Melbourne, many of these stalwart Melbourne designers have notched up their first decade in business, operate their own stores and are an inspiration to a new generation of creatives.

Obüs
Pop on any piece from Obüs and you'll feel like you're going places. For eight years founder Kylie Zerbst – originally a graphic designer – has delivered gracefully restrained and meticulously conceived pieces and many Melburnian ladies still treasure vintage Obüs garments. Although a great many stores around the country now offer various pieces of the range, it's at the Gertrude Street flagship location where you can see the precious works in their natural surrounds.

226 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy
4/289 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
285 High Street, Northcote
1073 High Street, Armadale

Gorman
Gorman is so firmly established in the Melbourne fashion landscape you could almost think of it as a 'chain' of stores. It began in 1999, when Lisa Gorman launched her label at the insistence of her then-housemates, the Fat Four (who eventually opened the first Fat boutique on Johnston Street). Lisa's winsome, playful approach to design has seen the label grow in astonishing leaps and bounds. Lisa is still Gorman's sole designer and oversees the customised prints that take as long to develop as the garments themselves.

GPO, 350 Bourke Street, Melbourne
Melbourne Central, level 2, 211 Latrobe Street, Melbourne
235 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy
248 Chapel Street, Prahran
561 Chapel Street, South Yarra
92 Bridge Road, Richmond
Chadstone Shopping Centre, shop 482, 1341 Dandenong Road, Chadstone
Westfield Doncaster, shop 1077, 619 Doncaster Road, Doncaster

Leonard Street
This label is a long-time favourite of Melbourne girls for its wearable yet unique designs. Amanda McCarthy's background as a sculptor is evident in her cleanly structured but still feminine designs. Named after a small pocket of London's East End, Leonard Street's three annual collections contain batwing dresses, swing jackets and pleated pants, all with a slouchy 1980s lilt and loads of street-cred cool. A sophisticated palette of grey, khaki and black merge with bright florals, sharp graphics and colours that pop.

6/289 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
132 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy
205 High Street, Northcote

Claude Maus
For a long time, Claude Maus was the only Melbourne label that catered perfectly to this city's black-o-philia and its 1999 arrival meant Melbourne's art crowd finally had a local source for satisfying its sartorial preferences. More than a decade later, Claude Maus has lightened up considerably, but still caters to this city's noir-ish streetscapes with winter collections that include the Melbourne essential – a nice warm (and stylish) winter coat, available at the wonderful and just-off-the-beaten-track Manchester Lane store.

19 Manchester Lane, Melbourne

Alpha60
Started in 2002 by siblings Alex and Georgie Cleary, Alpha60's sophisticated streetwear has grown into an empire that includes three Alphaville stores across the city – one north, one south and one in the middle. Pop culture is a constant source of inspiration: cult films such as La Haine and Twin Peaks are referenced and each season's collection has a different muse – River Phoenix being the latest in a line that includes Kate Moss lampshades, 'Love Mick Jagger' T-shirts and Vincent Gallo evening gowns.

GPO, 350 Bourke Street, Melbourne
201 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
179 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy
230 Chapel Street, Prahran

Arabella Ramsay
Melbourne's much-discussed north–south divide is nowhere more evident than in its fashion tastes. While the northern suburbs breed members of the omnipresent black faction, the further you get toward the beach, the happier become the colours and the friskier the dresses. Hence, Arabella Ramsay's clothes, sold at the Armadale flagship store, certainly ain't moody or sculptural, they're happy. The nostalgic folk-meets-rock-rebel style, in a heady fusion of silk, leather and floral fabric, has earned her a throng of fans.

1073 High Street, Armadale

Vixen
After 16 years of working her way into the fabric of Melbourne fashion, Georgia Chapman joined the Gertrude Street forward-thinkers in March 2007 with her flagship store. The focus of her label Vixen has, in line with Georgia's background in textile design, always been on fabric. Vixen's fashion and homewares are custom-dyed, hand-printed, etched and embellished silks, jerseys and velvets fashioned into garments like skirts, wraps and shoals.

163 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy

Scanlan and Theodore
Feminine without frills, structure without stricture, and subtle without ever being boring, Scanlan and Theodore has been defining Melbourne style for more than two decades. The label began with a tiny boutique in Chapel Street in 1987, resolutely rejecting the boxy power suits of the time, and is now highly coveted both here and overseas. The much-revered label has survived the departure of Fiona Scanlan in 2003 and continues to move from strength to strength under Gary Theodore's precise eye.

285 Little Collins Street, Melbourne
566 Chapel Street, South Yarra

The Signet Bureau
This is a very unusual store indeed. A clever hybrid between designer flagship store and multi-label boutique, The Signet Bureau features the work of a few clothing labels (and one shoemaker), who together share the cost and joy of creating their own public face. One of the driving forces behind this wonderful store is Miriam Borcherdt with her label Munk. Behind the store are also local shoe designers Preston Zly (one of the only survinving local shoemakers), as well as Melbourne newcomer Robyn Black with her beautiful dresses. New York Label Nami is the third musketeer.

165 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy


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