From broad boulevards to boutique hotels to Bondi Beach, there’s an openness to even the most ordinary locations in Australia. Probably this is because, even in the most urban of environments, wild animals and the outback aren’t far away. (Fun fact: No one bat an eye when an ibis hopped into a restaurant I was in, a pretty spectacular moment for a non-Aussie.) Quality of life in the country is very high, and many workers are afforded sabbatical time off in order to travel. (Ditto for students taking gap years.) These are people who have seen a thing or two, leading to an appreciation for a life of balance and curiosity. And these qualities are even reflected in the nation's fashion. The stereotype that Australians are all relaxed and chilled-out extends to their sartorial choices. Designers often experiment with washes of traffic-stopping color, high-tech fabrics, and the translation of abstract concepts into wearable clothes. (Scarves inspired by our dream vacations? Why not?) But even their wildest designs never stay far from a few central themes: wearability, sustainability, comfort. From the best t-shirt you’ll ever wear (promise!) to frilly underthings, here are five of our favorite Australian designers paired with like-minded locations from around the country’s largest city.
The Designer: Citizen Wolf
Confession: I have, on multiple occasions, pulled a shirt or dress out of my closet, tags still attached, and chucked it directly in the donation pile. This common, unconscionably wasteful phenomenon was Zoltan Csaki and Eric Phu’s motivation behind Citizen Wolf, a made-to-order t-shirt company that creates unique tees out of ethically sourced material, eliminating both consumer waste and frustration along the way. Because—no-brainer—if you’re 100 percent happy with a piece of clothing when you buy it, you’re 100 percent more likely to wear it.
Where to Wear it: Spice Alley
An estimated 15 percent of Australians have some kind of Asian background, and Spice Alley, located in the Chippendale neighborhood, is a culinary tribute to many different Asian cultures. Crave green curry? In the mood to slurp down a noodle soup? Got your taste buds set on kimchi, or elaborate fusion fare like duck tacos? You can grab it all in stalls across the casual outdoor eatery. Then, stop by Koi dessert bar and chow down on delicate pastries that look like perfect gems.