Standing out from the crowd – shop local at Brisbane’s best boutiques
The benefits of shirking bigger chains in favour of shopping local are pretty much endless. Not only do you get to support the little guy but you also end up cultivating a way more unique sense of style. Most of us are suckers for some chain store basics – hey, we’re only human – but it’s those high-quality pieces and distinctive finds from independent shops that really hold a special place in our hearts (and wardrobes). We’ve handpicked some of Brisbane’s best, coolest and most interesting boutiques for you to fall in love with.
Double Double, Brisbane City
When Brisbane’s two top-tier boutique-style outlets Violent Green and Apartment joined forces, it created an undeniable fashion powerhouse. The new store – called Double Double – is home to the Carhartt WIP flagship store, as well as a premium selection of Australian and offshore labels including Common Projects, Perks and Mini, A.P.C. and an exclusive Commes des Garçons PLAY section. The team is using its combined passion and expertise to curate an offering that is even stronger than their previous output. With the merging of forces comes exciting new cult labels, including Opening Ceremony, Baserange and collabs such as Raf Simons x Fred Perry.
bassike, Fortitude Valley
The Calile’s arrival in late 2018 brought with it more than just five-star accomodation amenities – it also houses an incredible selection of boutiques from some of Australia’s most covetable brands. bassike is a well-known label that chose The Calile for its flagship Brisbane location, adorning the racks with its heralded high-quality designs, garments boasting soft cottons, interesting cuts and edgy design style – all of which are hallmarks of the label’s offering. The likes of soft cotton shirts, skirts, jackets, coats, pants, jumpsuits, swimwear and accessories are up for grabs here.
Contra, Brisbane City
When it comes to selling a lifestyle, nobody does it quite like Contra. The fashion-forward concept expanded to a new location in 2019, inhabiting a stunning space housed within the heritage listed Charlotte House building. The clean, concise styling of the store lends itself perfectly to Contra’s offering, which has evolved over time to include more experimental labels as well as its core collection of cutting-edge daily wear from brands such as Ex Infinitas, Lou Dalton, Maison Kitsuné, Études, CMMN SWDN and Wildfolk.
Wolfe & Ordnance, Fortitude Valley
Wolf & Ordnance on James Street is boutique is brimming with a wealth of both Australian and international designers, placing a focus on stocking in-demand labels that turn heads. Founder Dani Odgers has curated a killer selection of threads from lust-worthy names such as Sir The Label, Faithfull, Zulu and Zephyr, Hansen and Gretel, Lonely Lingerie, Camilla and Marc, Nobody Denim and more.
The Common Thread, Bulimba: Slow fashion and its emphasis on ethical and sustainable manufacturing practices is more than just a trend – it’s here to stay. Bulimba boutique The Common Thread hawks ethical and sustainable wares for women, mothers and kids. Alongside in-house linen brand THE M|N|ML, The Common Thread also stocks garments from the likes of Veja, Baiia, Dunkle Authentic, along kid-friendly brands Cosmo Crew, Quincy Mae and more.
PROJECT., Fortitude Valley
New meets vintage, and well-known meets hard-to-find in the carefully curated line-up of clothing and accessories on offer at PROJECT. This unique streetwear store is the brainchild of Ethan Kostromi, who brings the boutique from a successful year in Noosa on the Sunshine Coast to the bright lights of Brisbane. Now housed in creatively decked-out digs on East Street, PROJECT. aims to treat local buyers to sought-after and rare gems that are typically challenging to source in Australia. Boasting an eclectic mix of old and new, fashion offerings embrace vintage labels such as Polo Sport, Tommy Hilfiger, Starter, Rap Tees, Nike and Jordan, while high-end streetwear brands include Supreme, BAPE, Palace, Stone Island, Yeezy and more.
Showroom, Brisbane City
If we’re being honest, there’s nothing quite like the Showroom experience. This one-of-a-kind retailer acts as a bridge between the internet and real life, giving shoppers a chance to see some of the best stuff kicking around the web in a physical space. This model is not only good for providing a tangible way to sample online goods, but it also supports some awesome creative entrepreneurs. The ever-rotating offering includes top-quality products from some of the country’s most popular web-based brands – amongst its selection you can find Fog Linen, House Doctor, The Spring Supply Co, Pampa and a whole lot more.
St. Agni, Fortitude Valley: Byron Bay brand St. Agni opened its second flagship store on James Street in 2019, bringing with it a boatload of its signature threads and accessories. Housed within the brand’s effortlessly chic store, shoppers can get hands on with items such as the unbelievably soft leather shoes, cropped linen pants and wrap tops. Also worth noting – St. Agni strives to minimise its impact on the environment by reducing waste, minimising plastic packaging by using reusable dust bags instead, and avoiding product surplus by aiming to only manufacture to meet demand.
The Happy Cabin, West End
Few independent boutiques are as beloved as The Happy Cabin, and it only takes a minute or two of browsing the racks to understand why. Since 2012 this Vulture Street store has been kitting out Brisbane shoppers with handpicked wearables and apparel with an angle towards making the most of outside spaces. The Happy Cabin has gear for women and men, from t-shirts, jackets and caps to dresses, footwear and bottoms. The store also stocks a sizeable collection of accessories, including backpacks from Fjällräven Kånken, Status Anxiety wallets and a selection of quirky enamel pins.
Alice Nightingale, Fortitude Valley
After years building up her brand from humble market stall to coveted online label, Alice Nightingale officially opened her first bricks-and-mortar store in 2018. Here, the racks are filled with colourful and ethically sustainable pieces, with Alice specialising in handcrafted garments made from second-hand fabric. The in-store selection is always changing as Alice is constantly crafting new pieces for the collection. If you love garments with femininity and humour, then you’ve found your dream boutique.
Parliament, Brisbane City
True lovers of skate culture will feel right at home at Parliament, Brisbane City’s home of all things boarding. First and foremost a touchstone for the Brisbane skate community, the space provides both a hangout spot for skaters as well as a retail space for those looking to cop some of the best gear in the business. As well as actual decks and accessories, you will find a rad selection of iconic brands such as Cliche, Baker, Anti Hero, Girl and Chocolate Skateboards as well as up-and-coming names like Palace, Quasi and Polar. The dudes who run the shop are all heavily involved in the local skating scene, so you can be sure that any advice given is totally legit.
UnCommon Store, Fortitude Valley
This Fortitude Valley open studio and boutique is the brainchild of Brisbane fashion mentor Jodie Hilton, who has been supporting local emerging designers through her creative agency and collaborative studio The New Garde since 2016. The retail outlet enables emerging independent designers to sell and develop their collections, while also giving shoppers a chance to snap up unique, locally designed pieces.
Maiocchi, Brisbane City and Paddington
They say necessity is the mother of invention, which is exactly how Brisbane-based label Maiocchi was born. Frustrated by not being able to find the elusive ‘perfect dress’ in both style and fit, fashion designer Deanne Mayocchi set her sights on creating classic pieces that are designed to make the wearer feel fab. Simple cuts are paired with original patterns that often channel a vintage or Eastern feel, with each collection designed and manufactured right here in Brisbane. As well as its namesake label, Maiocchi also stocks a stunning range of accessories from Australian labels like Each to Own, Pratten and Saltwater Sandals.