Miss Brown Vintage – advocating slow fashion

By Katie Johnson  

The world of fashion is often characterised as being faced-paced, disposable and cheap.  

But for the past year Queen Victoria Market’s (QVM’s) beloved sustainable fashion store Miss Brown Vintage has been advocating for things to slow down.  

Located in String Bean Alley, Miss Brown offers a unique collection of vintage clothing and accessories from the ‘50s to the ‘90s sourced from all over the world.  

Brand ambassador Kelly Roberson said that aside from all of the high-quality pieces on offer, marketgoers loved how sustainable the brand was.   

“In the last decade Australians have become more mindful of sustainable fashion. It’s moved from an underground niche to the mainstream, so our market has expanded significantly,” Ms Roberson said.  

“Our customers know that our pieces are individual, of exceptional quality, there’s history attached to them and there’s only one of each.” 

Miss Brown was originally started by owner Madeleine Thomson in Perth 25 years ago – long before sustainable fashion became trendy.  

Since then the brand has expanded into Sydney, Byron Bay, Burleigh Heads and finally to Melbourne eight years ago.  

“The brand has really blossomed in Melbourne, first in our Melbourne Central store and then into Fitzroy and QVM,” Ms Roberson said. 

“Melburnians are great supporters of ethically-produced products.”   

With QVM’s retail precinct yawning back to life after months of hard lockdown, Ms Roberson said it will take some time for things to bounce back to normal.  

“Sadly, Melbourne was hit the worst by restrictions and the retail sector at QVM isn’t back to its normal self yet,” Ms Roberson said. 

“It took the wind out of our sales, but we have bred a strong culture around our brand that will get us through and I’m confident we’ll bounce back in the summer.” 

Although its Melbourne stores were closed down for most of the year, Miss Brown was still getting orders from its online store and its Depop account.   

Ms Roberson said her customers were loyal because they knew that the pieces were manufactured to a high standard and no plastic was used in the packaging.  

“Our customers know fashion can be beautiful regardless of whether it comes out of a plastic bag and has a fancy tag,” Ms Roberson said.  

“We respect designers and manufacturers from eras ago and keep to the trends of the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s which are still so versatile today.”  

With the Melbourne market saturated with fast-fashion chains, Ms Roberson said Miss Brown was able to go against the grain to provide something timeless and ethical.  

“These are pieces you just can’t get at generic fashion stores,” Ms Roberson said.  

“You can wear these pieces knowing that they’re one-of-a-kind.” 

Miss Brown Vintage is open every Sunday at String Bean Alley QVM. You can visit its website at missbrownvintagebyronbay.com 

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