Style Melbourne

Fashioning Melbourne

Where is your favourite place to shop? Janice Breen-Burns’ chosen shopping destination relates to her mood – if she wants a “hyped up, glossy experience” she will hit the new luxury precinct at Chadstone Shopping Centre. For quirky boutiques and an “espresso crawl” the fashion editor will stick to the inner city lane-ways, whereas Debra Mar prefers discovering precious pre-loved items at Shag. The favourites expounded by each panelist at the Fashioning Melbourne discussion were varied, understandable given the diversity of shopping experiences this city has to offer.

The Fashioning Melbourne discussion took place at the State Library of Victoria with a panel of five fashion experts: Janice Breen-Burns (Fashion Editor for The Age), Debra Mar (Designer of blacklisted at the Fashion Workroom), Bec Cole (stylist for Madame Virtue) and Sener Besim (General Manager from Scanlan and Theodore). The discussion was led by Robert Buckingham (Founding Creative Director of Melbourne Fashion Festival) and run in conjunction with the State Library’s til you drop: shopping – a Melbourne history exhibition and L’Oréal Melbourne Fashion Festival.

Favourite places to shop and earliest shopping memories were just a hint of the topics discussed. The panel talked about what makes Melbourne unique as a shopping destination as well as the progression of retail. “The progress of retail is due to boredom” thinks Burns. The panel agreed that the future of Melbourne retail looks bright due to the changes that retailers are implementing to cater for their customer’s changing needs. Melbourne CBD department stores (David Jones and Myer) are evolving to customer demands through their re-development and presentation of a “house of brands” under one roof.

Growth of the internet and online purchasing is a trend that retailers cannot ignore. “Retail 101 says you must have an online presence” said Burns. Another trend that is becoming more prevalent in retail is “Hyerlocalism”, which refers to retailers making a connection with their community. This connection can be made by providing a service that benefits the community or by bringing people together e.g. having a coffee shop for people to gather in. Hyerlocalism will be one of the reasons we will continue to need actual shops, despite the growth of online retail. “Retail is not just about buying anymore, it is about the experience that comes from styling, food and entertainment” explains Burns. Shopping is a form of entertainment and will continue to play an important part in our community and daily lives.

The SLV’s ’til you drop exhibition continues until October with a series of events throughout the year. To see what’s coming up next visit them here.

Wise words by Courtney Symes
Image Spring and Summer Catalogue, No.78, Foy and Gibson, Collingwood, 1928

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