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Death in the High Street

Bye, Bye, Boutiques

Much of our 2OPINIONATED, 1980’s misspent youth was spent perusing the boutiques, restaurants and sometimes bars of Oxford St Paddington. Cast your mind back (if you can) to the absolute heyday of Paddington… it was a time when we considered it essential to allocate hours each week to researching our Saturday night outfits in the Oxford St shops. Olya and I were very fortunate during this time… not only were the best boutiques located just a stones throw away… but very conveniently, the nightclub of the moment (Paddo’s) was located around the corner from my Underwood St home.  We would tell me parents that we were heading to Oxford St for pizza…when in reality we were popping around the corner to Paddo’s for a ‘party pash” – ah to be young!

I feel ashamed in saying this but Paddington had really fallen off my shopping radar and when Olya and I recently returned to Oxford St to reminisce about the good old days, we were shocked to discover that the area had gone into decline. This famous shopping strip was once the toast of Australian fashion industry and now it looks a little like a fashion ghetto.

The decline of the high street is not an exclusively Australian experience – it is definitely an issue in both the states and also in the UK where it is estimated that 40% of high street shops could close over the next 5 years –

This situation appears somewhat different in Europe (especially in relation to luxury brands) where famous strip shopping locations are considered valuable branding currency. Online shopping and The “Call of the Mall” as Paco Underhill tagged this trend, can never provide the same kind of emotional branding experience as wandering along the worlds most famous shopping strips. It seems completely insane that as shopping tourists we flock to high street destinations like Bond St, 5th Avenue, Via Montenapoleone and theRue St. Honoré in Paris – yet we let our own famous shopping strips go into such decline.

Some of Australis biggest fashion exports and most imaginative retailers got their first leg up into the industry in the Paddington/Oxford St area in Sydney and we want to ensure that this continues to be the case. We’re going to feature the high street success stories (like the Robby Ingham store below) and ask you for your support in telling similar high street success stories from around the world.

Let us know how important independent fashion and innovative retail is for you by….

  1. – supporting the Paddington area by logging into and visiting the featured retailers that offer the best from the Oxford St strip
  2. – like the www.facebook/ShoptheStrip page on Facebook and share your stories of your best buys, best service and your favorite independent stores
  3. – follow @ShoptheStrip on Twitter and post great stores about creative retailers and great garments in your local community

Get involved – the health of the fashion industry depends on us all!!!!

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