They’re everywhere. It seems pop-up shops are infiltrating every nook in Melbourne these days. Open for as little as a day through to a year-long run, they often double as art galleries, or event and performance spaces, as trailblazer Penthouse Mouse does when it reemerges every year during the Fashion Festival. But one thing is certain for all pop-ups: as soon as one opens, its days are numbered.

The phenomenon, once trading on a cache of underground exclusivity, has made the jump from unconventional to mainstream retailing and marketing method. They used to inconspicuously sneak in without fanfare and attract shoppers via Chinese whispers. Now, however, you are likely to stumble upon a pop-up in a major centre like the GPO or QV – and that’s if you somehow missed the hyped launch.

Even lacking guerilla appeal, the fragile existence of a pop-up still encourages creativity. Melbourne designer Gorman once fashioned a mobile retail space from a shipping container and dubbed it the Ship Shop. Brunswick boutique Lulamae will soon delve into the pop-up world by setting up a city shop. It re-imagines the Sydney Road streetscape of their original residence in 100% recycled cardboard with a “romanticised … Alice climbing into the dollhouse feel”. Taking the transient idea of a pop-up to the nth degree, Lulamae’s Tamara Veltre explains, “we wanted to create a sense of the 'carnival coming to town' experience. We come in, set it all up in a day and start.” At the end of their stint the pop-up folds up and vanishes.

Arabella Ramsay is enjoying her Temporary Pleasures pop-up experience, though concedes it requires a different mindset to running her regular store. Ramsay gives the impression that time is of the essence as she tells of receiving the keys, setting up and opening in a span of just days. “You have to move in and move out quickly, so any tricks of the trade to make it look professional [are] really called for. Unlike my flagship store, which took three months to renovate. You’re working on a deadline so it felt like I was doing a school project.”

The advantages outweigh the rushed openings. Time constraints entice shoppers to buy and Ramsay thinks pop-ups are “a great way to create a real buzz, gather excitement for the new summer collection and be gone in a few months”.

It seems the designer is abiding by the old adage that is apt to the whole pop-up mentality: “Here for a good time, not for a long time.”

Arnsdorf – 69 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy
Now until late January. Mon to Sat 10am-6.30pm, Sun 12pm-4pm
Houses Arnsdorf’s current ‘And You Love’ collection.

Baker D. Chirico – 24 Crossley Street, Melbourne
Now until December 24th. Mon to Sat 10am-7pm
Proving that pop-ups are not only the domain of fashion, the famous bakery sets up for Christmas.

insert name here – Shop 5, Georges on Collins, 162 Collins St, Melbourne
Now until December 31st. Tue to Sat 11am-5pm
Find award-winning jewellery by Joolz, ethereal party dresses by Eva Q and car motif tees by T-shirt Garage.

Limedrop – Level 1, Melbourne’s GPO, 350 Bourke Street, Melbourne
Now until the end of January. Mon to Thurs 10am-6pm, Fri 10am-8pm, Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 11am-5pm
Moth Design has contended with the heritage-listed GPO building to house Limedrop’s latest collection in a travel-inspired setting.

Lulamae – Ground floor, Melbourne Central, 360 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne
December 1st until January 31st. Mon to Thurs 10am-6pm, Fri 10am-9pm, Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 10am-5pm
Lulamae’s Brunswick-based boutique becomes a sustainable, cardboard pop-up.

MYL + Crimson Phoenix – QV, 26 Albert Coates Lane, Melbourne
Now until 31st January. Mon to Thurs 10am-6pm, Fri 10am-7pm, Sat 10am-5.30pm, Sun 11.30am-5pm
80% off pieces from Camilla and Marc, Karen Walker, Dhini, Karen Millen and more of their ilk.

Temporary Pleasures – Shop 5, 234 Collins Street, Melbourne
Now until the end of January. Mon to Wed 10am-6pm, Thurs to Fri 10am-7pm, Sat 10am-5pm, Sun closed until December then 12pm-5pm
Hosts Arabella Ramsay’s designs, complemented by a selection of other labels.

Temporary Uomo – Ground level, Melbourne’s GPO, 350 Bourke Street, Melbourne
Now until the end of January. Mon to Fri 10am-6pm, Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 12am-5pm
Find imported Italian menswear at up to 60% off. Labels include BryanHusky, Rifle, Hotel, Caliban and Crossley.

The Untitled Shop – 399b Brunswick Street , Fitzroy
Now until indefinitely. Mon to Sun 11am – 6pm
Who Am Eye and Malmo offer more fashion options for men in Fitzroy.