Ready, Set, Shop! Australia: Now Home To The World’s High Street

5 May 2014

Australians have long travelled far and wide to get their fashion fixes from various leading cities around the globe. No longer do you need a passport to hit the high street – look no further than your respective CBDs or, at the very most, a short interstate flight or road trip for your next fast-fashion binge. With an influx of retail giants to Australian shores, you can save up those frequent flyer points and start spending your hard earned cash domestically instead of high-tailing it overseas for high street style.

 Inside H&M's flagship Melbourne store at the iconic GPO Building

Enter the Giants

Slowly but surely, Australia has welcomed celebrated big-hitting retailers one by one with a feverish reception. First came American Apparel, then Zara, Gap and Topshop. Now Swedish retail giants H&M (the world’s second biggest retailer behind Zara) have landed, taking up a grand residence in Melbourne’s iconic GPO building.

Japan’s basics 'LifeWear' store Uniqlo has also just taken over a four-storey high space in the new Emporium Melbourne on Londsale Street. Uniqlo’s opening day attracted more than 20,000 customers through the store, with eager fans lining up for more than four hours to be among the first to set foot inside the retailer’s first Aussie store.

It seems the southern state is the place to launch fashion in the South Hemisphere, with H&M’s sister brand COS set to open along Melbourne’s ‘The Strand’ in the CBD later this year.

 Colour the rainbow at Uniqlo, Emporium Melbourne

Russell Zimmermann, executive director of Australian Retailers Association says “Over the next five years I believe Australia will stand very proudly against the major cities of New York, Tokyo and Europe with a retail environment that is as good, if not better.”

Now, instead of Krispy Kreme boxes being the most coveted carry on item for domestic flights in Australia, it will be the red and white shopping bags of Uniqlo and H&M.

 The official opening of H&M Melbourne on Saturday 5th April, 2014

More than Fashion

These giant retailers aren’t stopping at clothing either – Australia needs to powder its nose too. Enter Sephora: the world’s largest beauty retailer and fastest-growing brand in the LVMH luxury group is set to open stand-alone stores in Australia in 2015.

Shunning offers from department stores David Jones and Myer, the brand is confident they can stand on their own two feet here in Oz. The big question is, where will Sephora land first? Rumours have the store pegged for Sydney, with high profile location Westfield Pitt Street the likely candidate. Does this mean Sydney will have a Sephora store before London? How the tide is changing.

Then there's the arrival of ‘stationary-heaven’ Japanese homewares store Muji, which is now open at Melbourne’s Chadstone Shopping Centre with plans for two more stores in Melbourne within the next year and showrooms planned for Sydney in 2015. The rumour mill continues with US 'Supré-on-steroids' brand Forever 21 touted to have its sights set on our shores as well. Watch this space!

 Australia's largest Topshop store, a major coup for Brisbane

The Who’s Who Guide to Fast Fashion Around Oz

Brisbane

  • Topshop – Australia’s largest Topshop store, three floors of fashion on Elizabeth Street in the CBD

Sydney

  • American Apparel – two locations: Oxford Street and Myer Sydney City
  • Zara – the brand’s flagship three-level store located at Westfield, Pitt St Mall
  • Topshop – Gowings Building
  • GAP – Westfield Pitt Street
  • Watch this space for H&M, Muji, Uniqlo and Sephora

Canberra

  • Zara - Canberra Centre

Melbourne

  • American Apparel – 2 locations: Chapel Street and Myer Melbourne City
  • Topshop – two locations: The Jam Factory, South Yarra and Highpoint in Maribyrnong
  • Zara – Bourke Street, Highpoint, Chadstone Shopping Centre & Westfield Doncaster
  • Muji - Chadstone Shopping Centre
  • H&M – Australian flagship store: Melbourne’s GPO
  • Uniqlo – Australian flagship store: Emporium Melbourne
  • GAP – 2 locations: Chadstone Shopping Centre and Melbourne Central
  • Watch this space for COS

Adelaide

  • American Apparel - Rundle Mall
  • Zara – Burnside Village

Rachel Surgeoner

A self-confessed 'food-tourist', I take hunting for the world's greatest sandwich very seriously, my quest has taken me from Berlin to Hoboken. Stopping off only for vintage shopping, craft beers and Mediterranean sunsets.