WE WERE rubbing our hands with eager anticipation as Hunter Gatherer opened shop in the city in January.
Run by the welfare organisation Brotherhood of St Laurence, Hunter Gatherer’s flagship store in Brunswick St, Fitzroy, has long been a haven for devotees of vintage, ethical and upcycled fashion.
Sorters scour through the Brotherhood’s 27 community stores or “op shops” across Victoria and handpick the cream of the crop from the hundreds of thousands of frocks, blouses, skirts, coats, hats and shoes donated year on year.
Andrea Philippou, manager of Hunter Gatherer’s new store at the Royal Arcade in Bourke St Mall, says people are often prepared to give away beautiful, classic fashions they no longer have a use for.
The city store specialises in vintage frocks and pre-loved, European-style leather shoes, including authentic Swedish clogs.
There’s stuff for men too, from velvet blazers to Lacoste cardigans, braces, bow ties and hats.
The store also stocks boutique jewellery by Melbourne artisans. To name-drop a few, there’s Greg Mann whose accessories are refashioned from antique cutlery; Run Wild Horses, who turn vintage clock parts into steampunk-inspired pieces; Gabriella Hirst, who works with fimo to make necklaces and bangles with a coral look; and seriously cute pieces by Scrumptious Productions.
Fans of upcycling will be pleased to find hats made of vintage fabrics from The Cat’s Pyjamas and Lydra’s clutch purses fashioned from pre-loved fabrics.
All profits go towards programs and services delivered by the Brotherhood to assist disadvantaged and marginalized communities.
What’s hot in vintage right now?
According to Andrea, the television series Mad Men has inspired a resurgence in demand for 1950’s and 1960’s women’s fashion – figure-hugging garments with cinched waistlines and full skirts a-la the show’s characters Joan, Peggy and Betty.
And the best part is, you don’t have to be a size 6 to pull it off.
“It’s a wonderful style as garments from this era are flattering to many different body shapes and sizes,” says Andrea.
Hunter Gatherer store locations
Street level, Shop 51, Royal Arcade, 335 Bourke Street Mall, Melbourne CBD (Ph: 03 9650 1843)
274 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy (Ph: 03 9415 7371)