Guest Post by: Lucy Strike (www.strolldownlucylane.com)
Australia has a lot to offer us devoted shopaholics who can't quite stretch our budget to purchase the contents of Vogue's "must have" pages! Aside from the high end luxury fashion brands that we all wish we could afford, Sydney is full of affordable high street brands, as well as an increasing number of innovative, boutique upcoming designers with inexpensive price tags. The stable economy and the strong Australian dollar have boosted the retail fashion world in Oz, largely due to young, fashion conscious customers having more money to burn. Here are Stroll Down Lucy Lane's tips on how to seek out the best fashion finds on the less expensive end of the scale!
Australia is generally considered to be behind in the fashion world, when compared to their American and European peers. However, in recent years, it has certainly come on in leaps and bounds in its pursuit to catch up and become more fashion forward. Large international fashion retailers such as TopShop and Zara have recently entered the Australian market and opened stores across the country to meet the needs of fashion savvy Australians. Other international brands such as Miss Selfridge, Uniqlo and H&M are all now following in their footstep and heading down-under.
However, on-trend fashionable pieces from our favourite high street stores such as the likes of Sportsgirl and General Pants can even set us back a pretty penny. Furthermore, international newcomers who have hit the Aussie scene, just like Topshop, have been heavily criticised for their high dollar prices compared to the amounts they charge back on their home turf. So what can us fashion conscious shoppers do to keep up with the latest trends but not break the bank? Well, one way to seek out affordable fashion is to look to the new upcoming designers that are popping up left, right and centre across Australia. Sydney and Melbourne often have several pop-up shops showcasing the clothes of savvy new designers, usually located in their trendiest, "hipster" suburbs in order to capture the fashion hungry folk. Take Surry Hills in Sydney as an example, with a whole host of independent stores selling collections from local designers; such as Mushu on Crown Street, Somedays Gallery on Fitzroy Street, and Eden on Crown Street. Another little gem is Westfield in Sydney's CBD; it has floors full of fashion finds, yet the lower-ground floor is an open-space for upcoming designer pop-up stalls and a haven for affordable fashion scavengers. The stalls here also somewhat mirror the trendy, indie styles found in the likes of Paddington in Sydney and Fitzroy in Melbourne.
Shopping at outdoor markets is another good tip to pick up less expensive vintage finds or discover the up and coming hottest, boutique fashion designers at affordable prices. Popular Sydney markets include The Bondi Markets which take place every single Sunday, The Paddington Markets which happen every Saturday, and then the Surry Hills Markets which are hosted every first Saturday of each month. All the new designers will attend the markets to show off their new stock before being able to expand to a full shop space, and there are also many stalls selling on-trend vintage and second-hand pieces. If you shop at outdoor markets, you will most definitely notice a saving to your bank balance in comparison to buying all your new clothes from the big high street giants and the department stores such as Myer and David Jones! On top of this, you will also find you rarely see the same person wearing your market-bought pieces, as the stallholders typically produce one-off pieces or only a handful of the same item.
Online retail shopping in Australia also continues to grow. ASOS, for example, has gone from strength to strength since setting up an Australian version of its website over here in 2011 and Australia is now their largest market. Some of the most popular online affordable fashion sites in Australia include Boohoo.com, Missguidedau.com, and Theiconic.com.au; all of these have grown at a remarkable rate over the last couple of years. Many online brands are able to sell the same products seen on the high street for nearly half the price online after cutting out the nasty high overhead costs. The likes of BooHoo and MissGuided have won the affection of female shoppers across Australia by providing us with rapid fashion collections replicated from the catwalk and offer both low prices and speedy delivery services
Pop-up stores, outdoor markets, and online retailers are all wonderful shopping alternatives to the typical High Street retail stores out there, and Australia is certainly spoilt for choice. On top of this, it's always a little rewarding to support the local, independent vendors and the up-and-coming designers, rather than the big Fashion Giants out there! So Happy Thrifty Shopping readers!