The fashion industry is laced with irony, and never more so than with the opening of The Standard Store in Fitzroy. Anything but its normal-sounding namesake, Standard's exclusive international stock heralds a welcome respite from the gluttonous fast fashion choking our closets, swinging shopping back to a thoughtful, considered retail experience.
"We believe passionately about community and face-to-face interaction," says The Standard Store co-founder Nicola Reindorf. "I genuinely believe people want an experience greater than the one online can offer them. And, obviously, all great cities need to offer good bricks and mortar experiences!"
Handpicking their collections on bi-annual overseas trips, Nicola and her husband Orlando have achieved quite the consummation between fashion forecasting and consumer delivery in this – their second – standalone store.
Their first foray into retail fashion resides in Sydney's Surry Hills. Looking farther afield several years ago, they were tipped off by friend, The Design Files' Lucy Feagins, of where to branch out in the garden state. Gertrude Street now warmly wraps its increasingly gentrified arms around The Standard Store's southernmost site.
With backgrounds in international retail and wholesale, The Standard Stores have proved a personal retail revolution for the pair as they continued to strongly swim against the tide of an increasingly discombobulated shopping experience since the online onslaught.
"The Standard Store opened because we believe that our customer wants a level of service and experience that online just cannot supply," surmises Orlando.
Back at Gertrude Street, behind the cobalt blue door, the feel is anything but austere and intimidating; designer baseball caps beside bespoke brogues and leather bomber jackets gazing across the floor at silk blouses dilute the divide between winter and summer, men and women, luxurious and lived-in.
But don't be fooled by the cool. A heart as big as an Ox-skin slide beats within this stylish interior. Some proceeds from sales of UK label Riz Board Short go to the Bumble Bee Conservation; The Old House espadrilles from Holland donate some of their profits to a charity that promotes play for children in under developed countries; and Chinti and Parker has the best ethical cashmere.
Personal favourites of the couple include Studio Nicholson, Adieu Paris, Sessun, Foxy Roxy, Chinti and Parker and Carven.
As divergent as their designers, Orlando and Nicola refuse to define and conquer a target customer. "We don't have one," says Nicola. "We pride ourselves on having a very diverse customer base. We are not ageist or too super cool for school!" she laughs.
In step with the landscape it sits upon, The Standard Store stock is the genuine article. It's not copied or fluffed up with fake heritage. "It needs to have its own true identity and signature," explains Nicola. How very Melbourne of it…
Image Credits: Carolyn West, The Urban List