Written by: Esperance Tide | July 18, 2018
Shopping local can be tough when it feels like there are hundreds of other offerings with every Instagram scroll. But if anyone can open an online store or whip up some poorly stitched clothes, the result of buying online is often underwhelming, and we’ve all been burned before. The opposite can be said of the products stocked by our local retailers, who carefully select their brands and build relationships with the people who work for them. We are lucky to have some incredible names in our local stores. Here are some of the most inspiring Australian brands you can find on Dempster Street.
On the Australian high street, Zulu & Zephyr seems like such an established institution it’s hard to believe that just six years ago the business consisted of two sisters lugging around a suitcase full of swimwear and a $20,000 debt. Selling samples at the Bondi markets, it took Sydney girls Karla Rose and Candice Rose-O’Rourke dragging said suitcase to boutiques around the country, convincing store owners to stock them, for the label to gain the traction it has today. Of course, with unique fabrics, flattering cuts and a chic, low-fi aesthetic, Zulu is now a reliable favourite among women looking for alternatives to mainstream brands.
Innertube Surf Shop
Everyone knows Rusty makes the best surf shop swimwear. But often what people don’t realise about the brand is its West Australian ties. The label has a classic surf brand heritage story centred around 17-year-old Rusty Preisendorfer, who started shaping boards in San Diego in the eighties. But these days, Rusty is actually based in Perth—it’s all designed, marketed and shipped from their headquarters in Osborne Park. Logistics aside, the label offers exceedingly good quality and clever designs much cooler than other offerings at the same price point.
Dudley Newton Optometrists
Enjoying careers at Quiksilver during the golden age of surf labels, retired pro bodyboarder Michael Crawley and his wife Tenielle’s life came to a halt when things started going south for the brand. Taking redundancy packages, the duo turned lemons to lemonade, using the opportunity to launch the infinitely-cool Valley Eyewear. If you weren’t familiar with the backstory, it’s no surprise—the brand has worked extremely hard to steer clear of the limitations of the surf brand industry. Instead, they’ve built a fashion eyewear brand offering the best quality and cutting-edge designs you can get around the $200 mark.
15 years ago, Becky Cooper and Bridget Yorston were just two Sydney fashion design students customising a pair of jeans together. Fast forward to 2018 and they are now running one of Australia’s most successful fashion businesses, with department store stockists all over the world and a huge celebrity following. In a nutshell, that pair of jeans were so well received the duo’s friends started putting requests in, before a boutique on the Gold Coast placed an order for 200 pairs. These days, the label’s success can be attributed to its fine balance of aspirational and achievable fashion, with fashion-forward designs at more affordable prices. It’s stayed Australian-made, too!
It’s About Face
One you need to know, Jono Hennessy is an embodiment of Australian design during the 20th century. Hennessy’s father was the first optometrist in Sydney, starting his practice in 1925, making his own frames tailored to each patient. Growing up witnessing this artisanal practice, Hennessy took the love of the craft and combined it with the aesthetics of Sydney in the eighties—the sun, surf and summer parties at a time when brands like Mambo were starting out in garages by the beach with surf culture as their inspiration. At the time, the designs were deemed too unusual by mainstream optometrists. It wasn’t until Vogue did an article that the label took off, putting the wheels in motion for the country’s leading and most celebrated eyewear designer.
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