Op shops have recently enjoyed a resurgence, with fashionistas realising that they can obtain unique pieces on the cheap if they buy secondhand. However, having to scour the racks of an op shop for trendy items is not everyone's cup of tea. That's why all the coolest pieces donated to the Brotherhood of St Laurence are sent straight to Hunter Gatherer. You can be assured there are no daggy fleece jumpers, baggy trackpants or thermal underwear hiding in the racks. Until the aforementioned items become the next big thing, they are banished to the less fashionable op shops.
As the stock is sourced from the stream of donations coming to the Brotherhood of St Laurence and does not waver with each season as per the fashion world, there is always a mix of clothing from different eras and styles in stock. In one trip, you can anticipate seeing brightly coloured eighties leggings, floral dresses from the 1950s and cheesy suits that wouldn't be out of place in the Napoleon Dynamite prom scene. There is also a selection of vintage accessories and shoes.
Like any op shop, Hunter Gatherer contains a smattering of miscellaneous objects for sale. A selection of records and homewares, all imbued with the kitsch charm that characterises the store, are available. You can even find a fridge there, but it seems to be part of their decor and not for sale.
Each piece at Hunter Gatherer has been hand-picked for you- unlike other op shops, the store is quite uncluttered.
Keep an eye out for the Iphi label, which restores or repurposes clothing which arrived at Hunter Gatherer too damaged to be put straight on the racks. After being given a second chance at being a cute piece of clothing, each item is returned to Hunter Gatherer, which is the only place that stocks Iphi clothing. Another label, also born from the concept of reusing existing materials, is The Social Studio. Diligently staffed by young members the refugee community, who gain skills and make valuable connections through their work, The Social Studio creates clothing out of recycled or oversupplied material. The gorgeous pieces they make are typically flowy and colourful, and a selection of them is available at Hunter Gatherer.
Some new jewellery from local designers can be found at Hunter Gatherer, for those wanting the vintage look but not so keen on donning pre-worn items. Labels available include the pin-up inspired accessories of Scrumptious Productions, Greg Mann Jewellery, which utilises kitchenware to make jewellery, and the steampunk-infused Run Wild Horses.
There are two dedicated Hunter Gatherer stores, in Fitzroy and in the Royal Arcade. The Fitzroy store is on 247 Brunswick Street, and open 10:15am to 5:45pm every day. The Royal Arcade store, which is off the Bourke Street Mall, is open 9:30am to 5:30pm Monday to Wednesday, 10:00am to 6:00pm Thursday and Friday, 9:30am to 4:00pm Saturday, and closed Sundays. A Hunter Gatherer section may be found in the Brotherhood of St Laurence's Moonee Ponds community store at 24 Margaret Street. The Moonee Ponds store is open from 9:00am to 5:00pm, Monday to Saturday.