A goldmine of underground art and wearable design
Deep below, in the bowels of this fair city is an Aladdin’s cave for independent art, design and fashion. Linking Degraves Street to Flinders Street Station, Campbell Arcade is a distinctive Art Deco subway with pink-tiled walls built in 1956 for the Melbourne Olympics.
Display cases positioned along the walls feature curious revolving art exhibitions curated by Platform Artists Group Inc. Over the last 18 years, more than 500 artists have displayed works ranging from stenciling to 3D installations.
Within this creative subterranean you can also discover an eclectic bunch of shops.
Sticky Institute, the first ‘zine’ shop in the world, sells independent magazines created with TLC by people who believe that their thoughts, drawings and words will intrigue a wider audience.
Subject to Change takes contemporary garments and incorporates vintage fabrics, giving them a unique style that is oh so Melbourne. The owner’s mother was once a seamstress and still churns out the odd garment under her label, Poochie-Mama.
Next door is Cat’s Meow with all-Australian and ethically sourced garments by designers from around the country. You may be lucky enough to find one-off pieces or short-run ranges.
Corky Saint Clair brings its own sense of flair to the lair with silver, stainless steel, porcelain or perspex jewellery in the shape of its friendly Corky characters. Meet Nutsu the Skittish Squirrel, Carry Monster or Karloff the King of Karaoke, who has an especially winning grin for an octopus. For something a little different, choose from AK-47 or knuckle-duster pendants to show your street cred.
Degraves St, Melbourne
Sticky Institute (03) 9654 8559; open Mon–Fri 12–6pm, Sat 12–5pm
Subject to Change (03) 9620 0311; open Mon–Fri 1–6.30pm, Sat 1–5pm
Cats Meow (03) 9654 3011; open Mon–Fri 10.30am–6.30pm, Sat 10.30am–5pm
Corky Saint Clair 0401 860 758; open Mon–Fri 11am–6:30pm, Sat 11am–5pm