Supporting local traders allows the industry to grow
It's all too easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of gift giving and forget about the importance of supporting local creators, artists and manufacturers. By supporting local, you are not only financially assisting Australian but you are helping to reduce pollution caused by international transportation. There is a myth that to shop local means to spend more. This is not always true. I have curated a collection of shops in the Melbourne CBD and close by suburbs that stock locally made products, at accessible prices. This is by no means an exhaustive list, just a sample of retailers that I have found particularly helpful and of great quality.
This CBD-based shop is open late has a great stock rotation to ensure only the most modern of fashions are on their shelves. Great for affordable and funky socks and scarves, books about Melbourne's history, street arts and characters.
Talk to the artists! Every item has a story. The Rose Street Market is an institution of Fitzroy, buzzing and lively across both Saturday and Sunday, local artists and craftspeople bare their wares in this indoor/outdoor setup. It is personally where I prefer to do the large majority of my shopping as you are purchasing products directly from the artists, no middleman required!
Image from Rose Street Market facebook page
Signed and Numbered 153 Greville St, Prahran or 7A Degraves St, Melbourne A collection of local (and overseas) artists stock their prints and pieces with Signed and Numbered. Just ask the super friendly staff about which artists are local and they will assist you in finding the perfect gift for the art-lover in your life. The general theme is street-art and street-art inspired pieces, however their range is extremely broad and varying. Well worth a look.
Stocking Australian designed and made women's clothing, jewelry and gifts, Inspirasia is a great place to shop for any fashion and socially-conscious women in your life. Some items can get a little pricey, however they always have a sales rack and the gift items are always reasonably prices. You do get what you pay for though, with all items of extremely high quality.
The Social Studio 128 Smith St, Fitzroy
While you're at that of Smith Street, almost across the road from Inspirasia is The Social Studio. Everything sold at The Social Studio is designed and made in Collingwood. This place is great for vibrant colour and new textiles. The Social Studio works with designers of all background, particularly newly-arrived refugee and immigrant designers, which leads to some wonderful collaborations and ideas.
Image from The Social Studio facebook page
The Melbourne Shop by Lumbi
Shop 2, 8 Driver Lane, Melbourne or 338 Brunswick St, Fitzroy
Perfect for loved ones overseas! Here you'll find interesting and quality Melbourne souvenirs made in Melbourne. From street-art inspired Christmas cards to tram scarves and Melbourne-inspired iPad covers, this is a great place to snap up some innovative trinkets.
The Melbourne Design Market
Held in the underground Federation Square carpark, The Design Market is a launchpad for local talent and a great place to pick up a unique gift for the person who has it all! Their next even is on the 9 November but watch their website as more are announced in the lead up to Christmas, or, you can shop online at anytime www.melbournedesignmarket.com.au/shop/
The Substation Artists Market
1 Market Street Newport
Held on the first Sunday of every month (except January), The Substation Artists market is ideal for finding unique hand-made jewellery and wonderful art and photography. It's also just a lovely place to visit, with music all day and the venue itself a stunning surprise.
7 Degraves St, Melbourne
With an extensive range of Victorian made Fine Food, Wine & Gifts, Clementine's is a convenient place to pop out for some lunchtime shopping. You will find the perfect ingredients for a gift basket for that hard-to-buy-for aunty or foodie grandparent. They also stock a small range of non-food locally made gifts and kitchenware.
Image from Clementine's facebook page
29 Mills Street, Albert Park
For those more refines, Potier is a retail space dedicated to the work of Australia's top ceramic artists. All handmade, these would be a great gift for anyone who has maybe just purchased a new house or whom has a milestone coinciding with Christmas. These pieces are serious gifts for those who have serious houses, and appreciate the finer things in life.