Do you want in on a Melbourne fashion secret?
In a semi-abandoned warehouse just a heartbeat from the doof doof of Chapel Street, is OAK off Chapel, a fashion destination with a twist.
This new creative concept is a space where budding designers can exhibit their work and fashion hunters can hang out, shimmy to tunes and purchase one-of-a-kind pieces. More of a fashion gallery, than a retail space, OAK currently has 12 labels showing everything from men’s leather footwear to eco-friendly basics and deconstructed jeans.
Forget mass fast fashion, the OAK experience is an intimate one that brings the designer up close and personal. Each piece is displayed with a plaque sharing the story behind its inspiration. “We want people to really get to know a piece before they take it home with them,” says twenty-something local lad Dave Brennan, who along with business partner, Liam Magee is behind the venture.
Having also started street label Chapter Eleven, Brennan knows first hand how hard it can be to get your foot in the door of Melbourne’s tightly-held fashion scene. “The fashion world can seem quite daunting at first, and it’s hard to find someone that is willing to give you that break,” says Brennan.
“We created OAK as a place where every aspiring designer can have their chance to showcase their talents and legitimise their label by being stocked in a prime address alongside other up-and-coming designers” It’s also home to twelve studio spaces where designers can get together and share overheads and more importantly ideas and creative energy.
OAK won’t remain an underground fashion find for long. But, what fun is a secret if you can’t share it?