It is, quite frankly, the end of an era in Melbourne fashion and homeware retail. Cath Hope, owner of Douglas & Hope, established in 1999, has decided to shut up shop. Walk into the pretty Fitzroy space (the city store closed about two months ago) and there is a simple letter affixed to wall starting with the line, “After 12 years filled with lots of fun and hard work, I have decided to close the retail side of Douglas & Hope...”
Hope cites the need to spend more time with her twin boys, and have more time for herself, as behind the decision to finally close the doors on a store that has become a familiar place to pick up a pretty dress, beautiful quilt or colourful homeware piece. “We opened it simply as a place where I could sell my clothes and the quilts… it evolved into what it is. I’ve been getting a lot of emails from people who are very sad we’re closing.”
A lot happens in 12 years. One of Hope’s strongest memories is that of a customer who lost everything in the Black Saturday fires in 2009. “She was a gorgeous woman and she wore our clothes and lost everything in the fires. She came in to buy her wardrobe from us again – that really struck me,” Hope says. This kind of customer says much about the loyal fans the boutique had garnered over the years.
While Hope is leaving the retail world – the Fitzroy store will likely be operating until the end of August – she’ll still be creating and designing with two new ranges including her melamine plates and also collaborating with other artists on projects. ‘Watch this space’ is an appropriate directive for a much-respected designer and businesswoman whose lovely retail spaces will be missed.
Douglas & Hope
181 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy
(03) 9417 0662
Mon - Sat 10.30am–5.30pm