Top 10 Concept Stores in MELBOURNE, Australia by Anthea Batsakis
Shopping in Melbourne can be considered a tourist attraction in itself. Getting to know the best concept stores in Melbourne will save you much time and money!
With eccentric boutiques and stylish arcades, independent concept stores are not difficult to find in Melbourne; especially in our major shopping areas like Brunswick Street, Chapel Street, Bourke Street, and Bridge Road.
Due to the sheer number of these quirky stores, this list of Melbourne’s best concept stores is restricted to one, large location – Melbourne’s Central Business District (CBD). Here’s our selection!
Signed and Numbered (7A Degraves St. MELBOURNE)
Signed and Numbered sells limited edition prints from local artists in a casual environment. You can browse through the art, flicking through piles or admiring them at a distance from the walls. The store challenges the conventional notion of art as unaffordable and detached from our regular lives; to aesthetically relevant and reasonably priced. From print mediums that include screen prints, etchings, digital variations, hand-finished, and woodblock; Signed and Numbered offer to visitors a chance to take home a slice of Melbourne’s art scene.
Metropolis Bookshop (3/252 Swanston St. MELBOURNE)
Located in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD, this bookstore sells a range of genres from erotica to children’s picture books. It is a hidden gem that specializes in pop culture, photography, music, design, and fashion. If you’re searching for something unique to feast your eyes on and feed your soul, you’ll certainly find it in Metropolis Bookshop. Here, the quirky is carried to a place of quiet dignity.
The Basement Discs (24 Block Pl. MELBOURNE)
Oh the days when we had ‘record stores’ rather than ‘iTunes stores’; where punk, pop, reggae, and jazz were all stashed in the same room and left to fight it out, not sitting placidly on a screen waiting for a weary click. The Basement Disks captures this sense of the not-so-distant past that many may not have realized escaped. They sell vinyls and CDs, vintage stereos, and hold free, in-store performances in the afternoon! They will probably be playing Jimi Hendrix when you walk in.
T2 Tea (Various Locations MELBOURNE)
No, it’s not Terminator 2 Tea (although that would be incredible). T2 is a tea store and tea bar that satisfies Melbourne’s insatiable desire for hot beverages. The walls are lined with boxes of loose-leaf tea and tables are covered with samples that are like fragrant masterpieces for the nose. From a delectable variety of chai tea to all types of breakfast teas, T2 has tea for all occasions and all the necessary equipment to brew it with. Free tea is provided in dainty teapots in the store, or you can ask the salesperson to quickly brew a specific tea to try!
Design a Space (3 locations: 212 Brunswick St. Fitzroy; 20 Manchester Lane; 142 Chapel St. Windsor MELBOURNE)
Design a Space is like a gallery for fashion designers. This space gives independent, Australian designers an opportunity to exhibit and sell the fashionable fruits of their labour. The general style varies between designers, each only exhibited for a month at a time so the styles are always fresh and altering. Statement pieces hang boldly amongst subtle pieces, but it’s no competition – there’s something for every shopper hungry for unique yet wearable clothing.
Minotaur (121 Elizabeth St. MELBOURNE)
Calling all pop culture geeks! Minotaur is the largest pop culture retailer in the southern hemisphere, specializing in, well, everything! With the latest comics, books, magazines, merchandise, and collectables, Minotaur have got you covered from Manga and Anime, to sci-fi and fantasy horror, and to wrestling. You could spend hours perusing the store and still find new and exciting products!
Sticky Institute (10 Campbell Arcade, Degraves Subway MELBOURNE)
Sticky Institute is easy to get glued on. It is both a work space and a retail space where you can create and buy zines. This intimate, artist-run, not-for-profit space has zines hanging across the walls and a centred table covered with typewriters, glue, and other crafty whatsits and doodads to aid your zine creation. All you wonderful creatives will feel right at home, and those who don’t identify as creative have a chance to exercise that colourful part of your brain!
Gewurzhaus (Various locations MELBOURNE)
Spice up your life with Gewurzhaus! Located around Melbourne’s iconic shopping streets, Gewurzhaus is a cook’s dream come true. This store turns sugar and spice into a retail experience with an A to Z list of different herbs, spices, sugars, salts, and peppers. As soon as the scent fills your nostrils upon your curious entry, flavour in food will be a luxury you won’t be able to live without. Not only do they sell a vast range of spices in their pure form, but they create more than 100 different blends that you won’t find anywhere else in the world. All the spices are prepared from whole ingredients and on site, ensuring their freshness and adding to the intoxicating scent that emanates from the store.
Mag Nation (2 Locations: 88 Elizabeth St.; 305 Brunswick St. MELBOURNE)
Mag Nation is a combination of a newsagency, bookstore, and a design shop. Here, you can buy a variety of unique magazines both from across the nation and from international sources. They stock around 4,000 titles, offering an expansive headspace for wide, reading eyes. Mag Nation is, after all, aiming for “Global Magazine Domination”. But not only do they stock magazines; books on fashion, film, art, and design accompany eccentric stationary that begs to fill the lined canvases in your notebooks. And if you’ve run out of notebooks, well they sell them too.
Corky Saint Clair (4 Degraves St. MELBOURNE)
A peculiar name that is well suited to this unconventional store. Corky Saint Clair showcases products sourced by local Melbourne designers. These interesting products fill every corner of this intimate store; however this only adds to the mysterious ambiance provided by the dimmed lighting and quirky-surreal products. Skulls and animals seem to be a common motif, but I should of course mention the occasional unicorn that also appears in useful forms – ring holders, necklaces, and wall hangings (to say the least).
All pics by talented photographer Daniel Maffei FROM MELBOURNE © All rights reserved