James Street, Fortitude Valley, Queensland © Jesse Smith Photography
How to shop Brisbane, with Amanda Shadforth
Embrace the Queensland capital’s laid-back, sunny vibe that permeates almost every aspect of the city’s fashion, style and design scenes.
Compiled by Natasha Dragun
Amanda Shadforth, founder and creative director of the fashion and style website Oracle Fox, knows a thing or two about style – her online presence showcases her impeccable portfolio of campaigns for premium luxury fashion houses. A contemporary artist and photographer, the Queensland-born-and-raised creative also has her finger on the design pulse. This, she says, is particularly vibrant in Queensland’s capital, Brisbane, where styles reflect the subtropical setting. “Brisbane is such a pretty city, with a great work-life balance,” Amanda says. Here she reveals her favourite places to shop and immerse in the arts.
Brighten your style in the city centre
Brisbane’s warm, tropical climate influences its fashion and style trends, Amanda says.
"Dressing here is not so much about the seasons – it’s about the mood. In store there are an abundance of bright colours, matched with equally colourful characters."
"People aren’t afraid to showcase their individuality by styling clashing shades and textures together. There’s a lot of fun in the outfits you see around town.”
Your first stop on a shopping tour should be the centre of the city, according to Amanda. “Brisbane’s city centre has evolved to become incredibly vibrant,” says Amanda, who enjoys the southern end of Queen Street Mall, a pedestrian-only shopping strip.
“A myriad of international designers have moved into this part of the city, including Burberry, Dior, Chanel and Louis Vuitton, all of whom curate beautiful window displays, store designs and merchandising. And most of which have specially selected collections and pieces tailored to Queensland clientele – items that you’ll only get here, and that reflect the vibe of the city. It’s amazing that these brands house bespoke Brisbane collections.”
Head to Queen Street Mall's QueensPlaza mall, where the top floor is dedicated to Australian brands, including Camilla, Alice McCall and Gorman, and is home to a Mecca Cosmetica beauty store.
Parallel to Queen Street Mall is Edward Street, where you can find one of Amanda’s top Brisbane shopping picks, the jewellery boutique by Australian designer Christie Nicolaides. “She does incredible bespoke pieces,” Amanda says. “Her earrings are amazing.”
Discover Australian designers in local boutiques
On Fortitude Valley’s James Street, check in to the design-driven Calile Hotel. Amanda recommends the on-site restaurant Hellenika as a place to refuel.
The inner-city suburb of Fortitude Valley, about a 10-minute drive from the city centre, has long been Brisbane’s hub for wining and dining. But it’s also the hottest precinct for shopping, Amanda says. Running through the suburb is James Street, “which has blossomed into the jewel in the crown of the city’s fashion scene”.
Along this strip you’ll find more than 100 specialty stores, and creations by Australian womenswear labels such as Carla Zampatti, Mister Zimi (both at the Calile Hotel) and Sass & Bide. Then there’s jewellers Natasha Schweitzer and Molten Store and Richards & Richards menswear. (If you’re travelling with your family, you can distract anyone who doesn’t want to follow you from boutique to boutique with a movie at the local cinema).
Want to keep exploring this area? You can also base yourself at the picturesque Howard Smith Wharves, a precinct of design-driven hotels and restaurants under the city’s Story Bridge. It’s a 10-minute drive south of Fortitude Valley.
Browse galleries in the Valley
As an artist (and one-time gallery owner), Amanda is passionate about the creative arts.
"The Jan Murphy Gallery in Fortitude Valley has such a lovely curation of works, and it has been hosting exhibitions for ages,"
Still in the Valley, Amanda also loves Philip Bacon Galleries, which is known for showing some of the country’s most celebrated established artists.
Walk five minutes south toward the river and you’ll find the Edwina Corlette Gallery in the neighbouring suburb of New Farm. This gallery “shines a spotlight on contemporary Australian artists”, Amanda says, with exhibitions regularly showcasing works from the local Aboriginal community. Each of these galleries maintains a stock of artworks for sale – browse their websites ahead of your visit to see what’s available.
Visit a mall with a difference
Westfield Chermside is a shopping mall that, Amanda says, “produces beautifully elevated fashion campaigns. There is also a convenient valet service now, so you can enjoy a real VIP experience outside of the inner city.” This huge mall is in the northern suburb of Chermside, about a 20-minute drive from the city centre.
“It has something for everyone: it has incredible high-street boutiques and niche stores, as well as outdoor-indoor experiences that capture the Brisbane vibe,” says Amanda, who loves that this is a family-friendly shopping experience, complete with a play area for the kids.