Over the past decade, a new wave of consignment stores has swept the east coast, spurring the resale revolution and letting us shop and sell clothes within our own neighbourhoods. Second-hand clothing store Mutual Muse has been at the forefront since 2014. That’s when founder Kirsta Hawkins opened the first shopfront in Thornbury (now closed), before expanding to Brunswick in 2019 and now, Northcote.

Hawkins grew up in the US, where she regularly scoured thrift and consignment stores for quality clothing. When she moved to Melbourne, she was surprised to find there were few models like it.

“There were op shops and vintage stores, but no one [was] selling contemporary second-hand clothes that they were buying from the public,” she tells Broadsheet. She left a career in teaching and childcare and opened Mutual Muse in the hopes of filling that gap.

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Since then, Hawkins’s love for colour has made Mutual Muse stand out with its curated selection of bright and bold pieces from (and for) each suburb.

“Each of the stores is really closely tied to what that customer wants in that neighbourhood,” she says.

But, according to Hawkins, Mutual Muse’s ongoing success is down to its consistent range of size- and age-inclusive pieces. That means you’ll find more size 12s (“our best-selling size”), right up to size 24 and beyond, with styles to suit all ages.

“Young people can find stuff, but it’s not exclusively for them. A 75-year-old person can come in and find amazing stuff too,” Hawkins says.

The stock is divided into masculine and feminine sections, then further separated into specific sizes. On the racks, expect to find pieces from locally grown labels including Alpha60, Obus, Suk Workwear and Arnsdorf, plus international names like Yohji Yamamoto, Acne and House of Holland. There’s also a curated selection of sunglasses, jewellery and accessories, along with shoes from the likes of Radical Yes, Gorman and Converse.

If the racks are defined by high-quality pieces and bold colours, the Fowler and Ward-designed space is only an extension of that. In the front of the spacious wheelchair- and pram-accessible shop, polished concrete plays off against a burgundy accessories station and colourful tiled counter. A bold artwork by Yugambeh artist Adam Leng hangs proudly behind the register. The playful changerooms make dressing a delight, with floor-to-ceiling chartreuse velvet curtains, magenta carpets and a larger-than-life mirror in the middle.

“People generally come to Mutual Muse because they like colour, so they can expect that from the new space as well,” Hawkins says.

You can also hope to get some money for your own clothes. Bring your gently loved items in for resale (or book an appointment online), and you can get 30 per cent cashback or 50 per cent store credit. Indeed, Mutual Muse (along with local resellers such as Goodbyes and Swop) makes it easy to keep your clothes out of landfill longer, lessen your fashion footprint, and add new colour and life to your wardrobe. Everybody wins.

Mutual Muse Northcote
282 High Street, Northcote
(03) 9481 8351

Mon to Fri 10am–5pm
Sat 11am–5pm
Sun 11am–4pm