Up There Store was born in 2010 from a vision to bring the world’s most exclusive trainers and streetwear to Melbourne.
“We opened with the aim to provide a unique take on footwear and fashion, looking to provide a mix of fashion, streetwear, sneakers and accessories that were not available locally,” says Jason Paparoulas, who co-founded the business with James Barrett and Brendan Mitchell.
Melburnians voted with their custom, cash and credit cards, and 13 years later Up There has expanded its footprint – pun intended – moving from its McKillop Street boutique to an expansive new 345-square-metre flagship store in Flinders Lane.
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“Our business has grown over the past five years and we have more and more products that we want to show, so a bigger space was integral,” says Barrett. “It also fulfils our desire to create a new retail environment that’s a truly unique experience, not only in Melbourne, but on a global level.”
The location on the street that Mitchell describes as “the best in the city” ticked all the boxes for the trio. “It has everything you could want in the space of a few blocks – fantastic restaurants, global fashion brands, coffee, furniture and everything in between,” he says.
The subterranean space is adjacent to Up There’s sibling brand Up There Athletics on Flinders Lane, and was formerly home to a day spa. Melbourne architects Kennedy Nolan were engaged to undertake the transformation, working in partnership with Paparoulas, Barrett and Mitchell to push the boundaries of materials and colour traditionally used in retail stores.
“We talked about wanting to create a space that would be recognised globally yet still authentic to us, our consumers and Melbourne,” says Paparoulas.
Taking inspiration from the store’s location at the base of the iconic Herald and Weekly Times building, as well as the atmospheric shadows of Sargood Lane, the team settled on a brief for a store interior that would be cinematic and abstract.
The result is shimmering surfaces of flat and perforated galvanised steel, a palette of saturated colours and intense green flooring reminiscent of a grassy field. There’s also a “funhouse of mirrors” that makes up the sneaker wall.
Two temple dogs guard the entry of the store, acting as vitrines for merchandise and also as mascots for the shop. “They define the space as a place where something special happens and are there to welcome you back on every visit,” says Kennedy Nolan designer Adriana Hanna.
Inside you’ll find new sneaker highlights including the XT Slate from Salomon, Bermuda from Adidas and the Made in USA 998 relaunch from New Balance.
Fashion and streetwear brands include 4S Designs, Haulier International and Norse Projects, as well as jewellery by Bleue Burnham, recently nominated for the British Fashion Council/GQ Designer Fashion Fund Award.
An in-house cafe rounds out the offering – an addition intended to foster a sense of community among like-minded shoppers in the city.
“This space allows us to expand our product range, create a more inviting and easy-to-shop environment, as well as engage more with our community at our in-store coffee bar,” says Mitchell. “We have space and facilities to do events and activations all while offering a fantastic shopping experience every day of the week.”
69 Flinders Ln, Melbourne
(03) 9670 6225
Mon to Sat 10am–6pm