Slow fashion brand Elk sets up shop in Lygon Street

Slow-fashion label Elk knew it was time to ease out the seams when the perfect shopfront came up in Carlton.

In the search for a fifth retail space for her sustainable fashion brand Elk, co-founder Marnie Goding had a crystal-clear wish list.

‘Our strategy is to look for destination stores that are part of a community hub,’ Marnie said.

Elk was searching for a shopfront that stood out, somewhere that people were not in a hurry. Somewhere customers could take their time to soak up the ambience, and Elk’s slow-fashion ethos.

Retail shop on Lygon Street

Elk’s new shopfront on Lygon Street in Carlton

All roads pointed to a prominent corner shop on Lygon Street, as a counterpoint to the tiny, busy jewel of a boutique on Little Collins in the city.

‘The type of people we’re looking to bring into the store is different to our small city shop, where it’s workers and people in town for the day or an event.’

The new Lygon Street retail space allows Elk to have a deeper conversation with its customers.

‘Someone can come in and talk about more than just an item. About how each product is made, where it’s made, what it’s made from, who makes it. It gives us the chance to discuss conscious consumerism.’

‘That opportunity only really exists in a retail space. It’s more experiential, rather than transactional,’ Marnie said.

There were other factors that ticked the boxes when location scouts from our Shopfront Activation Program mentioned the Lygon Street shopfront to Elk.

‘You need a clear shopfront that stands out so people can find you easily from the footpath and passing traffic,’ Marnie said.

‘It’s got a nice big glass shopfront, it’s in a good spot at an intersection with well-established businesses around us,’ Marnie said. At first they took an initial lease as a holiday pop-up.

Following the runaway success of the pop-up over summer, Elk has since parlayed a short-term lease into a five-year extension, so the brand can truly become part of the community.

City of Melbourne is transforming empty shopfronts into creative spaces, bespoke displays and pop-up shops under the Shopfront Activation Program, a $2.6 million activation program from the City of Melbourne and Victorian Government.

‘Lygon Street has such a vibrant retail scene. We are nestled in among well-established brands, but still prominent enough to stand out from the footpath and the road.’

Other drawcards included the iconic Cinema Nova, just a short stroll away for patrons passing time before the movie, and a whole neighbourhood of surrounding eateries.

Knowing they already had readymade customers in the area also helped seal the deal.

‘We know from our online sales that we have a strong customer base in Carlton, so the local market is absolutely as important as the visitors we hope to attract.’

‘Lygon Street gives an opportunity for an independent, family-owned business to grow, to find a new audience and strengthen an already great business.’

We are transforming empty shopfronts into creative spaces, bespoke displays and pop-up shops under the Shopfront Activation Program, a $2.6 million activation program from the City of Melbourne and Victorian Government.