Back in 2001, frustrated by the state of the fashion industry and consumerism more widely, Lupa’s creative directors asked themselves how they could reconcile sustainability with business. To them, the solution was far more attainable than corporations may have us believe: localising the industry. And so their Westgarth boutique was born.
Located on High Street in Northcote and Smith Street in Fitzroy, Lupa houses a diverse, extensive collection of women’s clothes, jewellery and accessories. But Lupa isn’t just a store; it’s an independent she-wolf grappling with the disposability of consumerism that provides a solid platform for local Melbourne designers in the process.
The store itself exudes confidence. It boasts a bright pink interior furnished with a mass of faux jungle houses. And while the fit-out might initially seem garish, it’s a design that compliments Lupa’s enduring ethos.
Lupa works from the philosophy that design should be a reflection of place, stocking labels that are not only designed in Melbourne but manufactured here also. The list of labels is exhaustive, encompassing a huge breadth of styles ranging from the established to the emerging. Labels in-store include Alexi Freeman, Preap and Coutts, Sunday Morning, Black Jewls, Queen Clothing and Leonard St.
Lupa is also in cohorts with Head Quarters, the cross-disciplinary art space located behind the Northcote store that extends a helping hand to the artist as well as the designer.