National Gallery of Australia, Canberra , Australian Capital Territory © VisitCanberra
How to shop Canberra, with Katarina Kroslakova
Home to many of Australia’s premier art institutions, the national capital also nurtures a compelling style and design scene.
Compiled by Natasha Dragun
The editor of luxury lifestyle magazine Winning, Katarina Kroslakova is one of the most stylish people in Canberra – her sense of fashion and design is classic yet individual, similar to that of the city itself, which really steals the spotlight when it comes to the arts. Here, Katarina shares her favourite precincts for immersing yourself in Canberra’s style.
Mix with the city’s creative set
The NewActon suburb revolves around the Ovolo Nishi hotel. “There are events and markets and jazz bands, and often exhibits in the foyer of the Ovolo,” Katarina says. “It’s very bohemian and vibrant.”
Ask any Canberra creative where they like to hang out, and they’ll likely point you toward the inner-city suburb of NewActon. "The quirky Hotel Hotel opened here in 2013, and really made this neighbourhood a focus for creatives" Katarina Kroslakova says.
The property is now known as Ovolo Nishi, but retains the same distinct style as the original hotel. “Almost everything about the hotel is crafted locally – mostly from Canberra,” Katarina says. “It has offered an incredible opportunity to showcase local wares.”
After you’ve been introduced to Canberran craftsmanship at the Ovolo Nishi, head to the fringe of the NewActon precinct to visit Artworld ADG. This is the centrally located second gallery of Aboriginal Dreamings Gallery, a 20-minute drive out of town in the suburb of Nicholls. Here you can shop while supporting Aboriginal artists by purchasing ethically sourced Aboriginal artworks and artefacts and hand-crafted jewellery.
Head to hipster central
From its rainbow-hued traffic roundabout in support of the LGBTQ+ community to its standout boutiques, the inner-north suburb of Braddon, a five-minute drive from the city centre, is “like hipster central”, Katarina says.
"The suburb really attracts all kinds, from university students to upscale shoppers."
Discerning shoppers descend to browse the clothes at Pink Inc Braddon. “This is my favourite fashion store in the whole of Canberra,” Katarina says. “The owner, Jane Pettersen, has impeccable taste and a real eye for pieces, and the curated collection is like (Australian fashion label) Ellery meets Vivienne Westwood. Jane’s pieces aren’t cheap, but she’ll sit with you and recommend a handful of ways you can style your purchase with the rest of your wardrobe.”
Lonsdale Street, Braddon’s main thoroughfare, is also home to Hive. “This is a great collective of local artists and craftspeople. You can pick up everything from jewellery to ceramics to scarves and candles. There are often exhibitions in the space as well.”
Next door is the Bison ceramics boutique, “which makes very smooth, fine ceramics. It’s very refined and used by a lot of local establishments, like Braddon’s eightysix restaurant,” Katarina says. Step outside to admire the Ori building’s origami-like folds.
The neighbouring suburb to the north, Dickson, is home to another craft emporium, Trove, which updates its stock on a daily basis. “It’s a co-op where makers lease out a pigeonhole to sell their wares,” Katarina says. Popular local brands here include Bursaria Workshop (hand-printed totes and cushions), Sovata (clothing) and Trove (3D-printed jewellery).
Browse an up-and-coming precinct
"Co-owner Nectar Efkarpidis is creating this incredible area where people, architecture, animals and vegetation can coexist"
“It really brings the community together. There’s a brewery and a gin distillery, and also boutiques and stores, from Jasper + Myrtle chocolates (I bought everyone in my family these chocolates last Christmas) to design companies and artisans, like 42Lines, where you can pick up handmade stationery.”
In Fyshwick you’ll also find the Designer Op Shop Emporium, which is home an astounding array of unique and independently run vintage and contemporary fashion stalls. And you can browse for pre-loved designer fashion from recent seasons at Material Pleasures, a one-minute drive or a five-minute walk from Designer Op Shop Emporium.
Shop the museums
For art and design of a different kind, the Canberra Glassworks in Kingston is “great for local arts”, Katarina says. “You can make your own glass product or enjoy one of their regular exhibitions.”
"Canberra has some landmark attractions," Katarina says, not least the National Gallery of Australia (NGA), home to a staggering 160,000 works, 7,500 of which comprise the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander collection. The NGA is home to the Art Store, a “beautiful shop, where you can browse high-end local arts and homewares” says Katarina.
You can enjoy local boutiques like these across many of the city’s institutions, Katarina says: “Questacon (the National Science and Technology Centre), the Royal Australian Mint and the National Arboretum also have well-curated stores – the National Arboretum has particularly lovely plant-themed products.”