Countless shoppers flock to Fitzroy to sniff out a retro bargain, but there’s so much more to the area’s retail scene than pre-loved threads. “It’s an incredibly diverse and edgy shopping district,” Lost and Found Market manager and stallholder Danie Shegedyn tells Culture Trip.
The Lost and Found Market is a lot like the Melbourne neighbourhood of Fitzroy itself: eclectic, bohemian, a little rough around the edges. And like so many people who call this slice of the inner north home, it began life somewhere else before being lured by Fitzroy’s irresistible charm, graduating from its original digs in an abandoned nightclub in Collingwood to this huge Brunswick Street warehouse. “Our new location in Fitzroy is amazing,” Shegedyn says. “The local community is made up of students, inner-city professionals and people living in government housing, so it’s far from homogenous, and the shopping attracts thousands of visitors, too.”
Shegedyn sells furniture from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s alongside 60 other stalls in this huge vintage marketplace, peddling everything from musical instruments and vinyl records to vintage lighting and industrial bits and bobs. “I have been told that we have one of the best setups for this type of market in the world,” she says. “It’s great to be doing what you love.”
Lost and Found Market
You’ll find items dating back to the 1940s at Lost and Found Market | Courtesy of Lost and Found Market
This Fitzroy shopping guide begins in stall 23 of the Lost and Found Market, where along with her partner Danie Shegedyn breathes new life into classic furniture. “We have always loved trawling markets, garage sales and deceased estates to find unusual pieces,” she says. “We love the thrill of the find and have found that we also get a great sense of satisfaction in bringing a piece of furniture back to life and seeing it go to a new home.” Lost and Found is brimming with similar stalls covering all things industrial, lighting, art, fashion, literature, music, kitchenalia and bric-a-brac spanning the 1940s through to the ’90s. In other words, heaven on earth for Fitzroy’s resident hipsters.
Growing up in West Australian foodie haven Margaret River, Wayne Ferrell feasted on his Aunt Maggie’s pumpkin curry, blueberry pancakes and fresh spaghetti – and after he moved to Melbourne and his aunt passed away, “fantasised about what it might be like to bring Aunt Maggie back through the one thing she lived on in: fresh food. And so it was that the Aunt Maggie’s was born. A place where an entire community could enjoy the energy, vitality and nourishment of food good for the soul.” This Gertrude Street grocery offers an old-school shopping experience – no automated checkouts, loads of organic produce and plenty of hard-to-find ingredients for those on vegan, gluten-free and paleo diets.
Hares and Hyenas isn’t just Melbourne’s premier queer and intersectional book shop. Sure, since 1991, partners and proprietors Rowland Thomson and Crusader Hillis have sold the city’s best collection of LGBTQ fiction, non-fiction, coffee table books, erotica, DVDs, cards and magazines. But this Johnston Street store has also hosted more than 2,000 literary, community and performance events, curating a crowded calendar of book launches, spoken-word nights, cabarets, markets, craft days, writing groups and book clubs. “Hares and Hyenas has made a significant contribution to the cultural development of the queer community in Melbourne and beyond, having helped forge the careers of hundreds of writers, artists and performers,” Hillis says. “It is rightly seen as an iconic centre for Melbourne’s sexuality and gender diverse, intersectional and wider communities, and it’s recognised as one of the world’s leading queer bookshops.”
When Chris Gill opened Northside Records in 2002, Melbourne had only a couple of soul bands. Now there’s about 50, and this record store is the heartbeat of the city’s funk and soul, hip-hop and jazz scene. Sitting on Gertrude Street, just off Smith Street – which together with Johnson Street forms Fitzroy’s ‘vinyl belt’, according to Gill – Northside also serves as a record label to help local acts put out releases and to reissue forgotten classics, as well as hosting in-store performances and curating the go-to gig guide covering everything that’s happening across Melbourne. Plus there’s a discount for musicians, so it’s always well populated with artists perusing each other’s work. “Fitzroy is the home of the funk in Melbourne,” Gill told Culture Trip, “always a home for bohemians and freaks. Music has always been a major recipe in the soup called Fitzroy, boasting more venues per capital than anywhere else in the country.”
This cutting-edge womenswear label is blazing a trail in the field of transparency. Established in 2006 in Australia before relocating to New York, Arnsdorf relaunched in Melbourne in 2017 and overhauled its entire operation to keep every step of the production process in-house. Founder Jade Sarita Arnott opened her first boutique on Brunswick Street in December 2017, quickly expanding to the Melbourne CBD plus Sydney. She made a commitment to lifetime repairs on all garments in the name of sustainability, then gained an Ethical Clothing Australia certification in 2018. Arnott’s fashion philosophy is simple: “When you dress to reflect both your style and your values, you feel confident about presenting yourself to the world in a cohesive and authentic way.”
When the Arnsdorf crew aren’t selling sustainable garments, they’re sneaking one block up Brunswick Street to Alimentari – “Our staff’s go-to for a quick coffee or snack,” Arnsdorf’s Olivia McCrimmon reveals. But this Fitzroy institution is more than just an everyday café – since 1998, the delicatessen has dished up panini, salads and breakfast to eat in or to go, as well as a deli cabinet packed full of cheese, charcuterie and takeaway meals. Bring home some pork and fennel lasagne, aubergine parmigiana or seasonal vegetable risotto, plus maybe a cheeky bottle of imported Italian wine from Alimentari’s impressive collection.
“The smell of that place!” McCrimmon enthuses, imagining the smell of the flowers that fill this stylish space across Greeves Street from Alimentari. Cherrie Miriklis sold flowers after school outside her parents grocery store before opening her own shop on Brunswick Street in 1989, forging a reputation as one of Melbourne’s top florists over the following three decades. Inside the bright-yellow exterior decorated with giant blooms lies an array of ornate floral arrangements, put together from fresh flowers and quality plants sourced from speciality growers around Australia and overseas.
The Brotherhood of St Laurence relocated to Fitzroy in 1933, when this tough inner-city neighbourhood was bitten hard by the Depression. Its legacy of helping the poor continues in the area today, raising funds through its vintage stores – including this excellent one on Brunswick Street, selling pre-loved clothes, jewellery and knick-knacks just across the road from the Lost and Found Market. Bridie Riordan from Hunter Gatherer said, “Apart from the incredibly unique stock mix – we have weekly deliveries to ensure there’s always something new and exciting to find – you’re also supporting our work in supporting disadvantaged Australians to build better lives for themselves.”
Hinoki delivers what it promises on the tin: a Japanese pantry replete with all the authentic snacks, drinks and staples that travellers might otherwise have to jet to Tokyo to find. The shelves of this minimalist Smith Street supermarket creak with bottles of kewpie mayonnaise, zesty yuzu jam, karaage chicken batter, juwari soba noodles, rare white shiro shoyu soy sauce, green-tea KitKats, and a thirst-quenching selection of imported beers, wines, sake and spirits. Hinoki also features a bar serving a mouth-watering menu of premium sushi and sashimi, plus customised platters.
New York, London, Los Angeles and Fitzroy: Sydney homewares label Mud Australia is certainly selective about where it opens its retail stores, and Gertrude Street represents a suitably stylish location. Founder Shelley Simpson explained that finding the right property in the right area and ensuring the company culture was fully embedded was quite a challenge. “A store dedicated to handmade porcelain dinnerware is a little unusual, so we have to make sure it feels natural and approachable, but also special,” she adds. Simpson founded Mud in 1994, importing fine porcelain clay from Limoges, France, to be handcrafted by a team of ceramicists in a Sydney studio, shaping durable dishes known for their clean lines, candy-coloured palette and everyday functionality.