As a new mum living in Melbourne’s west, fashion designer Laura de Vries had struggled to find a local, ethical store stocking threads suitable for her little guy.
But after dreaming of a one-stop shop for baby and toddler clothes, as well as postpartum self-care, her vision recently came to life in the form of Yarraville boutique Born West.
“While I was on maternity leave, I was looking for particular things for my son and felt that they were out there, but difficult to source myself,” de Vries tells Broadsheet. “I would have to place online orders with small brands, or – if I was in a hurry – revert to going to a chain store, which I wasn’t too keen on because I’m passionate about being as sustainable and responsible as possible in fashion.”
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So, she plugged the gap herself – opening Born West in a Somerville Road shopfront that was previously a massage parlour. It was “in pretty bad condition” at first, but she’s completely revamped it with her husband Nathan Rogers. The pair did the sleek fit-out themselves, featuring polished-concrete floors and a mustard-coloured tiled counter.
It stocks a delightful range of clothing suitable for kids up to around three years old, including Born West hand-knitted jumpers, cardies and beanies – made with wool from Bendigo Wool Store (you can get a matching set) – plus items from brands such as Dear Junior and Organic Zoo.
“My main focus is to stock brands that are responsible in some way, shape or form – whether it’s through small-scale manufacturing or organic materials,” says de Vries. “I’ve really tried to focus on organic cotton and natural, chemical-free dyes.”
“And a big thing for me, as a mother of a boy, is to have a selection that’s pretty well unisex … I have a few dresses, but I’ve really tried to create a gender-neutral range with unisex prints.”
There’s also bedding, swaddles and a variety of self-care products for mums. A small selection of jewellery by Byron Bay label Krystle Knight includes ethically sourced birthstones and crystals, and teething necklaces for babies.
Other Aussie brands you’ll find in-store include Illoura the Label, Taninaka, Tiny Trove and Little Elinor by Nico – all of which can also be purchased online. But, “I wanted a space people could actually come into,” de Vries says. “It was something I felt like I couldn’t access … I also wanted to create a social kind of aspect, which you really crave when you’re a new parent stuck at home with the baby – you want to go out, not sit behind a computer doing online orders.”
88 Somerville Road, Yarraville
Wed to Fri 10am–4.30pm