Oxford st and the Paddington markets

On Saturday we took a walk up Oxford St to the Paddington markets. These are my closest markets yet I rarely get a chance to go as I am so often working on a Saturday.

However it was a warm sunny winter day and we thought it would be a nice morning out.

On the way up it was disappointing to see empty shops, shops closing down and even those who were having half yearly sales looked like they were doing the very bare minimum when it came to window display and instore presence.

There were even shop assistants standing in the doorways smoking and making it so you would have had to ask them to move put of the way for you to get into the store.

All in all it was really depressing and certainly not encouraging anyone to go in and spend money.

The most saddening part was that the markets were even worse!

Lots of empty spaces, less than a handful of stalls to get food ( what happened to the great vegetarian pastry place???) many stalls which are exactly the same as they have been for the last 15 years.

It was dull, the stock was set out in the most uninspiring ways and clothing wise you choose from childrenswear, designs that look like they were imported cheap from China or middle aged womenswear.

The entire street and the markets all  seem to be scraping by on the glory they used to have. It was not the vibrant happening fashion centre it used to be.

How did this happen?

– Bondi Junction was redeveloped with a Westfield
– the city was redeveloped with a Westfield
– some of the designer stores moved out, some replaced with bargain basement fashion or even worse seconds stores
– rents staid high
– the markets are content with their regulars and not taking on enough new designers

But it is also more than outside factors it’s also

– the shops aren’t trying. I mean designer stores whose mid year sales are advertised with signs it looks like you created in word and printed on your home printer?
– complete lack of exciting design of windows or instore display
– staff who don’t care. When you do walk in they don’t talk to you and that’s when you can get past them smoking at the front door
– not enough food places that are interesting enough to get people to come for breakfast/brunch/lunch and then go shopping

I’d really love Sydney to have a more vital retail scene that can sustain emerging and existing designers that is exciting to go to and makes you want to spend money. Apart from twice yearly markets like the Finders Keepers we don’t have that at the moment.
Let’s hope councils, store owners and designers cam get together and come up with more ways to make this happen or the homogeneity of fashion will continue as everyone just shops from the very basic big name chain stores as they don’t know where else to go?

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4 responses to “Oxford st and the Paddington markets

  1. Hi Suz. I have to disagree with you on the Paddington Market vibe. I think there is quite a good range of fashion offered at the markets. Did you go into the “up and coming designer” section? The markets are currently offering discounted stalls and advertising on the website for young designers to come and give their designs a go at the markets.
    The organisers try very hard to get stall holders to present their product better, to the point of employing someone who specialises in that area for a number of weeks to help stall holders improve on this. There of course are stall holders who have been there for 25-30 years who don’t want to change with the times, but what can you do?
    There are less stalls at the moment, I’m assuming due to the lack of people spending at the markets & weather. The last two times I’ve been at Paddington I barely covered costs. Sales are very slow at the markets at the moment, perhaps due to the strong Aussie dollar and the cost of everything going up.
    Finders Keepers has a great buzz about it as it’s only on twice a year, which makes it easier to create the hype. Yes there are some lovely things on offer, but the last two years I’ve been I’ve found it to be saturated with people selling badges. I like going to Finders Keepers but very rarely do I find myself reaching into my pocket to spend and I have spoken with others that say the same.
    I agree though, we do need more options for designers and creatives to retail their wares that is affordable and draws in the people.

    • Hi Sasha,

      Thanks for the comments am so glad the markets are at least trying to encourage better displays etc with people employed to help the stall holders that is encouraging.

      The up and coming section had only 2 stalls in it and one not so interesting and the other was the guy who does the photos who has been at the markets for at least 15 years and that was it no other stalls at all. Even through the middle there were big gaps with no stalls, it really had the feel of a place hanging on for the last gasp of air.

      I do hope it picks up though, as you say the Finders Keepers are only on twice a year and we need somewhere that encourages the local labels to have an outlet. After how disappointed I was on the weekend I won’t be going back for awhile and that’s sad because I think if people like me who love small independent labels aren’t finding things that are interesting then how is the general public ever going to support fashion that is more diverse?

  2. Pingback: Helping independent labels | Starting your own fashion or tshirt label

  3. Hi All,
    I think you need to have a look what is happening to our economy, no one is spending money, at all, the Market is trying to encourage local and international people to the market, the difficultly is our Australian Dollar.
    We have just run Kulchafest, for the month of August, and have just completed our umbrella project.
    People need to shop local and buy Australian, that would help our designers and makers!!

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