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Rose Chong
Photograph: Graham Denholm

Shopper's guide to Gertrude Street

The little strip that links shabby haven Smith Street with its ever-so-slightly more uppercrust cousin Brunswick Street should not be overlooked

Rebecca Russo
Adena Maier
Written by
Rebecca Russo
&
Adena Maier
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Gertrude Street is the small street that links Fitzroy and Collingwood, and while it may seem unassuming it's filled with lots of fun independent stores. Within its one-kilometre span, you'll find everything from vintage and eclectic homewares to locally made prints to put in your home. Make some time to check out this microcosm that combines the best of Fitzroy and Collingwood. 

Become an expert on Melbourne's best strips with our shopper's guides to Chapel Street, Gertrude Street and Bridge Road.

The best shops on Gertrude Street

  • Shopping
  • Fitzroy

Winter or summer, Cottage Industry makes us feel all warm inside. Channel your inner nanna with all things knitted, quilted and crafted. From beanies and fingerless gloves to luxury scarves and thick woolly socks, you'll find everything you need to survive a frigid Melbourne winter. On top of cosy clothing, Cottage Industry also offers homewares like candles, mirrors, figurines and more.

 

  • Shopping
  • Fitzroy

Created in 2004, Leonard St specialises in clothing that features bold colours and patterns. Founder Amanda McCarthy takes inspiration from children's stories, folklore, and myths to create flattering garments made from high-quality materials. Perfect for adults who like their sense of style to reflect their inner child, Leonard St is a breath of fresh air on the fashion front.

 

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#159: The Standard Store

At the Standard Store, Nicola and Orlando Reindorf hang only the finest fabrics and cuts from European labels like Kate Sheridan, Mr Natty and Sessun. Stand out from the Melbourne crowd by dressing in all of the brands loved by Parisians, New Yorkers and Londoners.  

  • Shopping
  • Fitzroy

With a tagline on its website simply stating ‘We make nice clothes,' you can be sure that this Melbourne-based brand is all about well-made, understated garments with none of the fiddly impractical trappings that you might find elsewhere. All of the garments are produced in small, family-owned and operated factories where employees are paid fairly for their work. You'll find a little bit of everything here, from tops and bottoms to footwear, outerwear and accessories.

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#165: The Signet Bureau
  • Shopping
  • Fitzroy

Chain-store shopping can be so depressing. It’s a miracle we don’t look even more like clones than we already do! If you’re after something edgy and unique, the Signet Bureau is your shop. Founded in 2007 as a designer-owned and operated retail gallery space, this shop was one of Melbourne's pioneers in the slow fashion movement. You'll find garments made by international and Melbourne-based creators who share those values. 

#126: Pickings and Parry
  • Shopping
  • Fitzroy

Ever wondered how working-class guys in old photos managed to look so dapper? Wonder no more. Pickings and Parry celebrates handsome, robust things made to last in time-honoured ways. You'll find brass and brown leather stationery sets and pocketknives, tweed caps, sturdy-soled work boots, motoring goggles and niche literature. There’s even a baby barbershop tucked in the back. Enjoy a haircut, straight-razor shave or beard and moustache trim, and leave with pomades and unguents for your own bathroom. 

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  • Shopping
  • Fitzroy

About Space pairs a retro aesthetic with modern warehouse chic. Its lighting fixtures are to die for, and if you’ve walked along Gertrude Street at night before, you would have been one of the many punters staring in wonder at the glorious illuminated front windows.

#210: Australian Print Workshop
  • Things to do
  • Fitzroy

This not-for-profit arts organisation offers printmaking classes and fine art printing services, but you can also wander inside and have a look at high-quality Australian prints available for purchase. Support local artists by decorating your home with some new artworks from the Australian Print Workshop. 

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  • Shopping
  • Fitzroy

A striking and always vibrantly window-dressed Victorian corner terrace has been home to this Fitzroy institution for over 25 years. With ten colourful rooms of wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling costumes, wigs, hats and accessories, you’re pretty much guaranteed to find what you’re looking for – and have a ball searching for it. As befits the location, the stock is imaginative and unusual, and the savvy staff members, all poached from an art and design background, are passionate about helping customers build their outfit from the ground up and then tweak it to get it spot on. 

#242: Aesop
  • Shopping
  • Fitzroy

Established in Melbourne in 1987, Aesop skin and hair care products have gained a cult-like status around the world with shops now in Tokyo, Paris and New York. The fit-out and window displays differ from store to store and always look brill. Visiting an Aesop store offers you the same high quality products you would get in DJs or Myer, but with the more relaxed and infinatly more inspired vibe of a boutique.

More of Melbourne's best shopping

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