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A woman browses a rack of colourful clothes
Photograph: Emma Mulholland on Holiday

The 10 coolest independent clothes boutiques and shops in Sydney

Forget malls and online shopping disasters with our sweet Sydney shopping guide

Edited by
Maya Skidmore
Written by Holly Edwards
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Attention: sartorial Sydneysiders. When it comes to shopping for clothes in this city, knowing where to start can be daunting. Malls aren’t for the faint-hearted, and browsing online is hit-or-miss, so to make life easier we’ve made you a list of the coolest shops on Sydney’s streets. 

For gender, budget, and style inclusivity, these ten stores serve the best looks across diverse aesthetics, price points and suburbs around Sydney, with every shop hand-selected for its emphasis on sustainability, showcasing small designers and high quality products. You won’t find any shiny shopping malls here, but rather an emphasis on slow fashion, local makers and all-round ethical excellence, with each of these stores guaranteed to make you dress to impress. 

So, whether you’re in the market for something cute to wear to a wedding, fresh work threads (we're talkin' smart and casual workplaces here) – or just simply want to elevate your wardrobe to new heights, we have you covered. 

Want to keep treasure hunting? Head to one of Sydney's best markets.

The 10 coolest independent clothes shops in Sydney

Nestled in Newport on the northern beaches, Knap Store is a treasure trove of all things dopamine dressing. A vintage-lovers heaven, the store has stacks of well-worn Levi’s in all sizes, retro knits, '70s shirts and slip dresses aplenty.

Mixing home-grown brands such as Permanent Vacation and Jume, with international cult favourites like Paloma Wool and Baggu, you’re guaranteed to find trendy, sustainable pieces here.

With claw clips, miscellaneous homewares, books and handmade jewels also on offer, Knap Store is a one-stop shop on one of Sydney’s most idyllic beaches

Renowned for chequered pants and happy Hawaiian tees, the store, next door to Paddo Pub, the Unicorn, is home to the iconic work of Aussie designer, Emma Mulholland. Influenced by “80s and 90s souvenir-inspired looks”, the store’s design is as playful as the pieces it stocks, plunging punters into a vibrant paradise that echoes summer holidays of days bygone. 

Pop by for fleece bum bags and pastel baby tees, alongside her classic staples of bright and bold patterned workwear. If you are looking for the best summer clothes in Sydney, we recommend heading here for their unique patterns, quality fabrics and all-round good vibes. 

At the end of the day, pay Emma Mulholland a visit for the nostalgia, if nothing else. 

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Meticulously merchandised and curated to perfection, SWOP in Enmore does consignment like no other. Conveniently located up the road from the inner west’s beloved bakery Saga, SWOP is the perfect store for a weekend browse and baked-good fix.

Ideal for the fickle fashionista, you can bring your pre-loved clothes in for a 50 percent store credit or 30 percent cash back, with them also donating the clothes you bring in if they don’t work for them.

Promoting circular fashion, SWOP epitomises the age-old phrase of “one man’s trash is another’s treasure”, with them offering up pieces from $40 vintage trousers to $400 Jean-Paul Gaultier skirts, making it a haven for designer, budget and vintage shoppers alike. 

I’ve never been able to leave empty-handed, stumbling across Prada sandals, vintage slip dresses and the perfect leather bag, with a trip here guaranteed to make you do good, feel good and look good.

It’s not always easy to find international designers Down Under. Luckily for Sydneysiders, Above the Clouds has foraged and stocked the best of them so that you don’t have to.

Located by the corner of Reservoir and Crown, the independent retailer stocks pieces from lesser-known but highly-regarded brands such as Andersson Bell and StoryMFG, as well as household names like Nike, Dr. Martens and Stan Ray.

An establishment of all things street-chic, there are pieces for a range of budgets, with prices ranging from around $25 for a t-shirt to more than $2000 for a handbag. 

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For the best of international fashion, look no further than the Standard Store in Surry Hills. Whether you’re searching for the perfect plain white tee or a pair of brilliant trousers, they have you covered. Located on Crown Street, family-owned and run since 2011, the store exemplifies elevated everyday style for men and women.

The store’s interior is not dissimilar to the items they sell; colourful yet refined, playful, but classic. Amidst the muted tones, a sapphire-blue table acts as a centrepiece, while a small, peaceful courtyard provides a feeling of serenity amid the bustle of Crown Street. 

While the items are generally at a higher price point, savvy sale shoppers should keep an eye on their website to find the occasional swish piece going for 50 percent off. 

An inner west institution, Maple Store has firmly held its place in the hearts of stylish Sydneysiders for almost 20 years. With stores located in Newtown and Balmain, Maple Store is a mecca of denim, twill and clothes that are made to last. 

The Newtown flagship store is located in the middle of King Street inside a heritage Commonwealth Bank building, while the beautiful Balmain branch is tucked away on Darling Street. Shop for jeans, as well as cool and casual mens, gender-neutral and womenswear beneath a soaring ceiling in a rustic-warehouse space. 

With diverse price points and a gorgeous mix of goods, Maple is a good place to go for casual quality staples, a perfect pair of jeans, or a spicy outfit for a special occasion. 

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Tucked away on Oxford Square behind the bustle of Darlinghurst’s main drag, PASS~PORT Store and Gallery offers a range of colourful pieces from brands such as Pearls, Come Sundown and CARHARTT.  

The pieces in their eponymous label, PASS~PORT are designed for playful practicality. Often collaborating with local artists, the brand has housed collections with Anna Pogossova, Rennie Ellis and even Aussie legend, Paul Kelly. Doubling as a gallery space, the store has held exhibitions for Skate Photographer Dave Chami during the Vivid Festival and most recently, the work of tattooist and fine artist Jesse Olsen.

If you’re on the hunt for everyday cotton drill pants, the perfect kitschy graphic tee or a new pair of sneakers, PASS~PORT Store and Gallery is the place for you.

For designer brand fans who like a bargain, we recommend you head to Di Nuovo. Located a stone’s throw from Paddington’s Oxford Street, this small shop is a go-to for luxury consignment items with a more accessible price tag. 

While Di Nuovo may not have the bargain prices of Vinnies, you’re likely to find high-end pieces such as Hermes scarves, Chanel flats or Fendi bags at a fraction of the cost. 

The ideal place to start if you’re looking for the perfect wedding guest outfit, elevated workwear or affordable designer pieces, Di Nuovo is home to the pre-loved vintage designer items of some of Sydney’s chicest residents. 

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The lesser-known counterpart of the Galleries store, Incu Outlet provides amazing pieces at beautiful prices. Reimagined by architectural powerhouse, Akin Atelier, the store is a design marvel, marrying warm, soft terracotta tones and softly sculpted silhouettes with the warehouse, industrial feel of the building and the surrounding suburb of Roseberry. 

If you’re on the hunt for brands like Toteme, Rag & Bone or Stone Island – all at a cheap steal, head to the Rosebery store (and grab yourself a Black Star Pastry while you’re there).  With designer items at serious discounts of 50 percent off – or more, Incu Outlet is the ideal place to pick up chic workwear, luxury handbags or elevated accessories for weddings, functions and everyday living. 

Synonymous with simple refined style, Saturdays NYC in Bondi specialises in making daily wear feel a little more special. Think silky bowling shirts, soft cotton tees and buttery leather jackets. 

Alongside their own brand, the Bondi store stocks Suicoke’s cult dad sandals, all-natural body care from Corpus and quality shades from Moscot.

Despite having its roots in New York, this billowy shop is perfectly at home on the shores of Bondi, mixing street style with coastal wear to create elevated, everyday pieces at a diverse range of price points.

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