Designer and retailer Vicki Taylor launched her airy Tāmaki Makaurau boutique The Shelter nearly 10 years ago in Ponsonby.
Now, South Island residents will have easier access to The Shelter’s roster of boundary-pushing designers with the opening of a sibling store on Dunedin’s Filleul Street.
Located in what was formerly a clothing factory in the 1940s, The Shelter Dunedin is spacious with an industrial, dark-toned aesthetic that works well with the often avant-garde garments hanging on the racks. Like its Auckland sibling, the store stocks international heavyweights like Rick Owens DRKSHDW, Issey Miyake 132.5 and Uma Wang, along with local designers such as Masami, Pera May and Taylor’s own eponymous label.
The idea for the store emerged when Aotearoa’s borders were closed, and Taylor travelled around the South Island with her family. “Dunedin itself stands out as a city that is filled with not only a strong New Zealand history, but is also rich in creativity,” she tells Broadsheet. “I have quietly fallen in love with the Otago and Southland area. It has a history that has been kept authentic and the landscapes and natural beauty have inspired several of my collections, and most recently Taylor’s summer 2023 collection. This made it the perfect place for The Shelter.”
From the beginnings of her Auckland store, Taylor knew she wanted The Shelter to constantly evolve. “The Shelter has many moving parts and balancing them all is the challenge, yet it’s also the greatest opportunity within a retail environment in today’s world,” she says.
In choosing what brands and designs to stock, she looks for those that “play on the creative side of fashion and design”. You’ll find makers that are known for their unique points of view, “Where a garment is so much more than just something you put on each morning,” she says. “It has a story, it is made carefully from hand-selected materials, crafted slowly to ensure quality and longevity, creating a piece that will stand the test of time in your wardrobe.”
Alongside more well-known names, The Shelter stocks emerging New Zealand brands like Martinborough-based label Frances and independent menswear maker J’ake. “Being lucky enough to see what brands are offering in Paris and Milan each season, I must admit it has solidified my belief that New Zealand turns out very creative designers,” says Taylor.
With the new southern outpost, she’s getting acquainted with a host of fresh dining favourites. “A must is Bacchus Wine Bar & Restaurant in The Octagon. While I have not been yet, No 7 Balmac comes very highly recommended.”
While building the store, the team became regulars at Ebb Cafe on the same street. “Ebb Dunedin is the best place to stay. I look forward to exploring the Dunedin food scene more now that I won’t be covered in sawdust with my paint scraper in hand!”
Overall, they’re delighted with the new store. “We are really pleased; it has a great feel. I always love the tones of dark that form in the blackened steel and how it contrasts against the white walls,” says Taylor. Natural light streams in from the six windows to be filtered through blackened steel mesh fittings, which creates textural shadows around the store.
“We are still finishing small parts and no doubt the store will evolve in time as it settles into the Dunedin fashion scene.”
41 Filleul Street, Dunedin
(03) 929 1388
Mon to Sat 10am–5pm