Where to buy Australian design

Buying Australian-designed clothes, accessories, jewellery, homewares, surf and beach gear is the perfect way to take home a memory of Down Under. Where to buy Australian design
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Where to buy Australian design

Buying Australian-designed clothes, accessories, jewellery, homewares, surf and beach gear is the perfect way to take home a memory of Down Under.


By Sue Gough Henly 

From Outback-inspired elastic-sided boots, felt hats and iconic surf wear to opal, pearl and diamond jewellery, urban fashions and stylish homewares, Australian-designed goods offer a tangible connection to this wide brown land with its easygoing cosmopolitan cities and glorious beaches.

Shop till you drop

OUTBACK FASHION

RM Williams is Australia's most famous Outback fashion brand, renowned for its elastic-sided boots, plaited leather belts and twill pants. The family-owned Australian company Akubra has been producing felt hats since 1874 and offers a terrific selection of country, western, urban and heritage styles. Driza-bone started producing its famous oilskin wet weather coats in the 1890s and has since branched out into moleskin pants, merino wool sweaters and other clothing. Darwin-based di Croco uses farm-raised saltwater crocodile skins to fashion bags, wallets, purses, belts and other accessories as well as a unique jewellery range. And while they may not be strictly Outback fashion, ugg boots made of sheepskin are a beloved footwear item. Check out Ugg Australia and Original UGG Boots, which are wholly made in Melbourne.

BEACH GEAR

Australia's beaches and surfing culture are unrivalled, and Australian surf wear, swimsuits and beach gear are among the world’s best. Rip Curl (originally famous for its wetsuits) and Quiksilver (renowned for its board shorts; it also has a women’s label, Roxy) were founded in Victoria's Torquay, while Billabong was started on Queensland's Gold Coast. Today they all offer a range of surf, swim and active wear at shops all over the country. If you’re looking for an Aussie-made surfboard check out Mt Woodgee Surfboards on the Gold Coast. Among the many Australian swimwear labels, Seafolly and designer brands such as ZimmermanCamillaFellaTrianglPeony Swimwear and Kopper & Zink are among the best.

CONTEMPORARY URBAN FASHION

Australian fashion is characterised by a casual elegance befitting the country’s relaxed lifestyle. Among the many contemporary designers, look for: Carla ZampattiScanlan Theodoresass & bideCamilla and MarcSabaAlannah HillJac + JackBassikeMorrisonGorman and KsubiOroton is Australia’s leading designer and maker of luxury handbags, leather goods and accessories. Australian stores that focus on ready-to-wear items and accessories include Country RoadWitcherySportsgirl and, for men, Gazman. The two main Australian department stores are David Jones and Myer, both of which stock a wide range of Australian labels.

JEWELLERY

Australia has some amazing raw materials to work with when it comes to jewellery. Broome has long been a source of beautiful pearls and Cygnet Bay Pearls (which runs the Australian Pearl Jewellery Design Competition), PaspaleyKailis and Willie Creek Pearls all produce lovely pearl jewellery. Australia also has the world's largest supply of opals. Two companies, The National Opal Collection (in Sydney and Melbourne) and Altmann+Cherny (Sydney), are the most reliable places to buy opals. Look for black, boulder and fire opals. Argyle pink diamonds, from the Kimberley in Western Australia, are also distinctive Australian gemstones, and are transformed into striking pieces by a number of jewellers. Dinosaur Designs produces an inventive array of resin and precious metal jewellery as well as homewares. Abby SeymourLucy FolkSarah & Sebastian and Emily Green stand out among other contemporary jewellery designers. In Melbourne, e.g.etal showcases the work of more than 60 Australian and New Zealand designers.

HOMEWARES, WOODWORK AND FURNITURE

One of the most popular Australian homeware items is the Fink and Co water jug, made of anodised aluminium in a range of distinctive colours. Mud Australia’s handmade porcelain range combines a minimalist aesthetic with an artisan finish and an exquisite muted colour palette. Dinosaur Designs has expanded into a complete range of homewares, including resin platters, bowls and spoons and glass vases. Some of Australia's most renowned furniture designers include Mark TuckeyKhai Lieuw, London-based Marc Newson and Johnny ChamakiThe Jam Factory in Adelaide has purpose-built studios for ceramics, glass, furniture and metal design as well as an exhibition and retail space. The Design Tasmania Centre shop showcases Tasmanian wooden homewares and furniture and its wood collection features contemporary Tasmania wood design from remarkable indigenous timbers such as huon pine, King Billy pine, celery top pine, sassafras and myrtle. The Boroughs is a Melbourne store that features local designers.

TOILETRIES

Aesop has its headquarters in Melbourne. Specialising in skin, hair and body care and perfumes, it has achieved cult status around the world. The natural botanical-based skincare and cosmetics brand Jurlique, now owned by a Japanese company, was founded in the Adelaide Hills. Bellabox Pure Paw Paw ointment is perfect for cracked lips and dry skin.

ARTISAN MARKETS

You can buy handcrafted clothes, jewellery, homewares and gifts at numerous artisan markets around Australia. Check out the Finders Keepers markets in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane. In Melbourne, there's also the Melbourne Design MarketMakers Market at the Abbotsford ConventRose Street Artists Market and the St Kilda Esplanade Market. In Sydney, check out the Big Design MarketPaddington Markets and Surry Hills Markets. In Adelaide, there's the Jam Factory. In Hobart, visit the Salamanca Market. Perth has the Perth Makers Market and Perth Upmarket. In Broome, in the north of Western Australia, try the Broome Courthouse Markets and Staircase Night Markets. In Darwin, visit the Mindil Beach Sunset Market. Brisbane is home to the Young Designers Market, while elsewhere in Queensland you'll find the Eumundi Market near Noosa and the Port Douglas Sunday Markets in the tropical north. Over the border in northern New South Wales, visit the Byron Bay Regional Markets.

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