The hustle and bustle of markets is often the last thing on market-goers’ minds, because all that matters is that feeling of walking away from a stall knowing you’ve just found a treasure out of someone else’s trash –the perfect vintage dress or skirt, say, tucked away amongst musty old cardigans.
Many would also agree that part of the appeal of going to a market is in buying an item that may have its own history before it was in your possession. Even if the seller doesn’t know the story behind an item, buyers can still quietly imagine the life it had had before they purchased it. An old pair of earrings may have belonged to a grandmother who wore them for special nights out; or perhaps they had been a dearly loved heirloom.
Markets can also be a hotbed for new talent. They provide an easy platform for new designers, creators and even inventors to sell their wares and get some exposure. Artists who have started at markets such as Rose Street Artists Market, Blackbird Market and North Melbourne Market, for example, have gone on to bigger and better things.
Here are a few markets around Melbourne we like having a rummage around at.
North Melbourne Market
Every month, the crafty Thread Den ladies play hostess for a day and open the doors to the Lithuanian Club. Up to 70 stalls are open every market day, and visitors can meet the designers and craftspeople directly, perhaps even chat to them about the ideas and concepts which produced the goods, before taking home a piece of handcrafted love. Stalls also sell vintage fabrics, locally designed and handmade clothing, jewellery and sweet treats.
Where: 45-50 Errol Street, North Melbourne
When: Once a month, on Sundays (next one on May 22, June 26)
Photography: Jetsetting Joyce
Held on the second Saturday of every month at The Workers Club on Brunswick Street, Blackbird Market’s stalls offer a wide range of art works, clothing and jewellery by local designers, as well as a variety of vintage treasures. If you prefer to sit back and watch other people elbow each other over a slinky velvet dress, you have a few options: squeeze into the bar for cold pint, tuck into one of the club’s mammoth burgers or nip over into the band room for a musical treat. Also keep an eye out for the mysterious fortune teller, usually sitting on a tiny table just waiting to deal you your tarot cards.
Where: The Workers Club, 51 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy
When: Second Saturday of every month (next one on May 14)
Rose Street Artist’s Market
Situated in a former junkyard in the back alleyways of Fitzroy, Rose Street Artist Market is known nationally for its eclectic nature and the talents that have graced its stalls. With a focus on handmade and locally designed clothing, accessories, furniture and art, it has cultivated a long list of new talent. Every Saturday the market showcases the work of up to 70 new and established artists and designers. The market’s success has spawned its very own Little Black Book, a publication that promotes the artists and designers at the market.
Where: 60 Rose Street, Fitzroy
When: Saturday and Sunday
7am might be a an ungodly time to wake up on a weekend morning, but getting to Coburg market bright and early is a must if you want to get the good stuff. Regular trash and treasure market-goers know that although the cheapest bargains come toward closing time, chances are you’ll be spending most of your time on your hands and knees sorting through massive piles while the worn-out seller stands over you and hoarsely yells, “Three items for $2!”
Pro tip: Bring your weight in change, lots of shopping bags and be prepared to drive a tough bargain.
Where: Coburg Drive-In, 155 Newlands Road, Coburg
This sprawling market spans two car parks and almost every square inch is covered by mountains of second-hand and handmade goods, ranging from delicate china and vintage clothing and shoes to jewellery made from old silverware. As it is with most weekend markets, getting up early is best, as by 10am the car parks will be teeming with eager market-goers, young and old. Camberwell is also peppered with food vans selling anything from gourmet hot dogs to falafel wraps, or some jam donuts and coffee. Lone buskers and whole brass sections will also be around to entertain the bargain-hunting crowds.
Many stall holders are regulars and do their own foraging for goods at Camberwell too, so you may find that an item, once sold, may turn up at another stall, for another price.
Where: Station Street, Camberwell