In Style + Design

Urban Legends: The Best Perth Boutiques Only Designers Know About

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Kate Hannah finds inspiration in unlikely places. Hannah is a designer and founder of P’Junk, a Perth-based label known for rainbow-bright pieces—’70s-era patchwork jumpers, jackets adorned with giant pompoms—that she spins out of vintage textiles, sourced from op-shops around the West Australian capital.

Hannah leans heavily on the city’s close-knit creative community in the process.

“P’Junk makes clothes from material such as pom poms and I’m really passionate about the art and culture side of fashion; my label is based on my personal style, which is quite colourful…” says Hannah, who studied fashion at Curtin University, has shown her work at the Telstra Perth Fashion Festival and the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival and debuted the label internationally at LA Fashion Week in October last year.

Kate Hannah’s top picks for Perth boutiques:

Varga Girl

Hannah believes that the city’s fashion scene can defy expectations — a quality reflected in her favourite boutiques.

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Fresh windows at Varga Girl, styled by the master @rob14_marshall. Image: Varga Girl / Facebook

“I’ve always loved Varga Girl in Leederville,” she says. “They have a really big focus on bringing international labels to Perth and supporting the local industry. In addition to my label, they stock great local designers like Empire Rose, Monster Alphabets and One Fell Swoop.

Atlas Divine

Down the road, Atlas Divine is great for streetwear and they carry London labels like Lazy Oaf and The Ragged Priest — I’ve been shopping there for years. I also really love Ilka in Mount Hawthorn, which is run by Erin Taylor and Kate Wilks. The store carries their own label along with local brands like The ANJELMS Project and Jonte Designs.”

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ILKA Bridesmaid Collection launch. Image: ILKA / Facebook

Hannah regularly visits the Perth Institute of Contemporary Art and recommends The Goods Shed, a Claremont space currently showing a knitted installation from Indonesian artist, Mulyana. She says that there’s a loyalty and camaraderie between designers from Western Australia that sets the fashion scene apart.

“Perth is a small industry,” she smiles. “But because everyone knows each other, it is also very supportive.

Rebecca Paterson has helped shape the legacy of fashion design in Western Australia. Paterson is the owner and head designer of 33 Poets, a label that references punk subcultures and owes some its DNA to collaborations with Junichi Arai, the legendary Japanese textile engineer who’s worked with the likes of Comme De Garcons and Issey Miyake.

Paterson who returned to Perth after running a label called Breathless in Sydney says that although the city’s isolation can be challenging, it can also empower the designers who live here to hone their voice.

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Image: 33 Poets / supplied

“I don’t follow trends because I come from punk and am one of the few Perth designers who came out of that tradition,” says Paterson who trained as a painter and has been designing for 30 years. “Fashion describes what’s happening culturally in a particular place and I try not to make anything I design a gimmick. But I still get a thrill out of trying to do something inventive [within my work].”

Rebecca Paterson’s top picks for Perth boutiques:

Dilettante

Paterson says that one of strongest aspects of the fashion scene in Perth is the presence of world-class boutiques such as Dilettante, a Claremont concept store that stocks its namesake label alongside designers such as Rick Owens, Acne Studios and Ann Demeulemeester.

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Dilettante window featuring Issey Miyake. Image: Dilettante / Facebook

The notion that Perth fashion revolves exclusively around glamour, she says, is countered by the number of boutiques prepared to push boundaries and take risks. “Dilettante is a wonderful shop and the owner, Diana Paolucci was stocking Vivienne Westwood when no one else was in Australia,” she says.

Elle

“There’s also Elle [in Nedlands] that stocks Tony Maticevksi and presents great international stuff and Cult Status on King Street, which is doing great work. We used to have this very glamorous frock thing coming out of Perth, but we also have people who love Alexander McQueen, love Comme. It’s so interesting to me that we have so many shops that serve people who are very informed in that aesthetic.”

If you’d like to experience some of the Perth’s best boutiques for yourself, Jeep Compass can help you create your own urban adventure. Learn more here.

(Lead image: Model Mercy wears a jacket covered in hundreds of handmade tassels made using a blend of new and recycled wool, and a dress made using recycled denim from secondhand jeans, recycled tartan and buckles from a vintage kilt. Photographer: Liana Grigoryan / supplied)

Published 11 June, 2019