In Scott Alley, a small alleyway just off Flinders Lane, a new streetwear store with a slick neon-green-and-concrete fit-out opened in May.
On the racks at Relic you’ll find well-known designers such as Off-White, Burberry and Valentino. But that stock will soon be replaced by harder-to-find labels – once they arrive following a coronavirus-related stock delay, that is.
In a few weeks, instead of the current collection of Burberry sneakers and Valentino sweatshirts, you’ll find retro-futuristic LA brand C2H4, and – in an Australian exclusive – Gallery Dept, another LA label that repurposes vintage clothing.
“[Gallery Dept pieces] aren’t just clothes, [they’re] more like art pieces,” says Relic creative director Peng Gao. “They’re our vibe, because we combine art and fashion together. And the old and the new.”
Gao tells me that 14 other Australian outlets tried to get Gallery Dept in-store, to no avail. But when the label saw an Instagram post by Noise Noise Noise – the design studio responsible for Relic’s fit-out, as well as that of Fluff Cosmetics, and a handful of sneaker stores including Hype DC, Subtype and Onitsuka Tiger – the team called Gao to offer the brand to Relic as an Australian exclusive.
It’s no surprise the Gallery Dept crew are fans of the store design. Noise Noise Noise’s creative director Blair Cooper created a space inspired by post-apocalyptic futurism, which touches on the intersection between fashion and art, with design features that evolve over time.
Sculptural plinths, coffee tables and other furniture are made from upcycled building materials and other waste, and video artists will take turns creating works for in-store screens. In one corner, where a selection of Off-White pieces hang, a feature wall made of vinyl wrap will be added to over time, layering different colours and patterns, but always showing some of the previous layers.
“I was trying to think about 300 years later – what is the fashion industry going to become?” says Gao of the concept for the store’s design.
“We’re here at a point in time, this is our piece of the puzzle, it’s our layer,” adds Cooper. “Then in 100 years – let’s be honest, probably in 10 years – it will be something completely different.”
Shop 4/237-239 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
(03) 9639 0363