If you can pull yourself away from the beach, set aside an afternoon for shopping in Sydney. We’ve rounded up the best independent shops where you can shop (or browse) the likes of Australia’s top brands in an 1840s building, from cool concept gallery boutique bed linen, to crochet (or gold and pearl) earrings from one of the city’s most beloved jewelery designers and an item from Sydney’s ‘kaftan queen’. Then you can go back to the beach.
Read on for our experts’ top retail therapy tips, while here are our dedicated guides to Sydney’s best hotels, Restaurants, bars, night life and beachesmore what to see and do in the city, what to do for free and how to spend a weekend in sydney.
Owner Eva Galambos recently took the bold step of moving the excavations to an empty church on Oxford Street in Paddington. Its aim was to bring some glamor back to a strip that was once known for high fashion but was crushed by a nearby Westfield opening. The layout is fabulous. The 1840s building is now a temple of fashion where shoppers (with the means) go to bow down to designers such as Céline, Chloé, Isabel Marant and Balenciaga. Local designers such as Romance Was Born, Ellery and Christopher Esber create exclusive ranges for Parlor X each season. It’s top of the range with prices to match.
This corner of Paddington has grown from a small hub of Australian designers to Sydney’s premier fashion destination. Designers such as Camilla and Marc are known for their high-end garments, Jac+Jack offers the country’s finest merino and linen clothing for men and women, Bassike for luxury basics and Camilla (not to be confused with Camilla and Marc) is Sydney’s kaftan queen. Gorman, Sass and Bide, ksubi and We are Kindred are other local designers occupying this coveted commercial strip.
Tucked away at the bottom of very picturesque William Street in Paddington is Di Nuovo, a local secret you’ll thank us for sharing with you. You’ll find second-hand designer clothes and vintage classics in excellent condition and at dramatically reduced prices. When the women of the eastern suburbs declutter, it ends here. The shelves are full of names such as Fendi, Balenciagi, Marni, Cecilie Copenhagen and YSL. They also have a wide range of shoes, bags and jewelry.
This outlet of Japan’s largest bookstore chain is also Sydney’s best place for book lovers. With over 300,000 titles, Kinokuniya takes up most of the top floor of Galeries Victoria downtown. As well as the excellent range of fiction, there is an extensive collection of graphic novels, art and design books, cookbooks, travel books and children’s literature. The window seat in the kids’ section overlooks City Hall and the Queen Victoria Building. It’s one of the best places in town to snuggle up with a book.
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Sydney has many markets to explore on a Saturday or Sunday morning, however, the Rozelle Public School Markets are some of the best. There is something more authentic about them. This is where you’re most likely to find a first edition copy of a Francoise Sagan novel, a pair of vintage Chanel pumps (this actually happened, and they cost five, yes five Australian dollars ) or a dear little cup of tea to buy for your collection. A good selection of artisan food stalls will also fill you up. Note: All Australian markets have a Turkish gozleme stand. Just try to find one that doesn’t work.
Koskela is a large industrial space that serves as both a gallery and a shopping center. You will find, among other things, rugs made by Aboriginal artisans, Scandinavian-designed bunk beds, fine gold jewelry, punk-inspired fluorescent light fixtures and superb linens. Brands featured in-store include Among Equals, a social enterprise that works with women weavers in Papua New Guinea to sell their Bilum handbags, with 100% of the profits going to the artisans.
The Standard Shop
Launched by Sydney-based husband and wife duo Nicola and Orlando Reindorf, The Standard Store is a hand-curated manifestation of the couple’s concept of cool and primarily stocks men’s and women’s clothing. They travel the world selecting what they think fits their store’s niche brand with labels from Europe, Scandinavia and the United States. Accessories and gifts are also available, from Australian sunglasses by Lucy Folk to scented candles by Maison Balzac. With additional stores opening in Barangaroo and Melbourne, the Reindorfs’ sense of cool may not be as niche as they think.
The collector’s shop
How can a small store have so many good things? It is a permanent mystery. One way or another, this little boutique offers quality offerings in fashion, accessories, intimate apparel, bedding, kitchenware, candles and more. Among men’s and women’s fashion brands, the stores stock Scotch + Soda, Romance Was Born and American Vintage, while their jewelry range includes the Australian prodigy’s faux granite tassel earrings and cuffs. Elka. Get yourself a Robert Gordon mug while you’re here too, your morning cuppa will be all the better for it.
PLAYA by Lucy Folk
It’s hard not to feel happy when you walk into PLAYA by Lucy Folk on Gould Street, a fashionable street in Bondi. Dusty pink tones, art deco curves and gold details are a mood reset; it’s like stepping into a Turkish delight. Lucy is a girl from Melbourne and this is her Sydney flagship store, where she sells her gold and pearl earrings (check out the crochet designs), sunglasses (with their nana-chic gold chains eponyms), pouches and clothing. PLAYA is that shop where you can find everything in one place, just be prepared to walk out with a lot less in your wallet.