The first rule at Many: Do NOT use the term “Pop-up”
Last weekend a group of Perth fashion bloggers (myself included) were invited to a bloggers breakfast and tour at the Many 6160 department store in Fremantle. When Myer closed its store last year the multilevel building became available -all 20,000 square feet of it. Nick and the team from Spacemarket knew it was the space they had been looking for, so quickly set about reusing the building as a one of a kind sales floor and workshop (with a Summertime rooftop party venue bonus). A community of designers, creatives and storeowners stepped in to form a vibrant shopping experience unique to Perth. Featuring a café (with good coffee it is worth noting), fashion, beauty, homewares, accessories and art stores, the ground floor provides an excellent location to cover shopping needs, while also supporting local businesses and craftsmen.
As a testing ground for new and established businesses, Many provides short term leases and weekend opening hours to trial and cultivate business. I had visited Many previously, to find that this time some of the retailers had changed. Low rental fees, regular foot traffic and an exciting range of neighbours are all attractions as a retailer test the market and potentially move to set up shop on the High Street.
At the helm floor managers, self-taught milliners and storeowners Kate & Abel (aka Kate and Matt) lead by example and encourage their fellow retailers. The couple relocated to Perth after launching their successful hat company in the UK where they were stocked by the likes of Topshop. Perth has provided them with a new market and Many became the perfect space to establish themselves. Explaining that they were about to sign a lease for retail space in the city when approached by Spacemarket, the low-cost rent, large space, and relaxed location became the right combination to change their plans. Inspired by the Perth weather and culture their range of hats (from my humble trained Milliner perspective- are great value) is as unique as the accessories and home wears which they stock in store. Expect to find Mexican rugs (I could do with another one to add to my collection I am sure!), hand-knitted cacti in pots, printed leather jewelry and more.
Established Perth retailer Pigeonhole are hardly strangers to most WA shoppers, but none the less have a bright store filled with the quirky nicknacks and clothing ranges we know them to carry- all of which are currently on sale, I might add. Beginning with a similar story of finding an unused space and turning it into something cool, Pigeonhole is a welcome addition to Many, supporting new retailers.
Antipodium the Perth-London women’s clothing label is no stranger to the bright fashion-lovers eye. Having shown for years at London Fashion Week, being regularly worn by British ‘It’ girls and present in all the right fashion magazines, the Perth Antipodium Sale store is an exciting addition to the Many shop floor. Stocking current and older season pieces, there are bright colours, interesting fabrics (that holographic opal pleated organza midi skirt caught my eye), unique prints and embellished garments. Artistic, carefree and cool is a good way to describe the Antipodum girl- who can just as easily team her bold outfits with daring heels or comfortable Converse.
Hunter Store is another established retailer who is testing the Fremantle market with its collection of beautiful shoes, bags, sunglasses, and jewellery. For anyone who has visited Alice’s Leederville store, you will know to expect high-quality leathers in neutral colours with a twist. Croc-embossed bags, metallic leather ankle boots, reflective sunglasses and even safe lipsticks (without the nasties) are just a few things I noted along with a cool signature curved wood store fit-out.
Peaches and Clean is a natural vegan beauty brand manufactured in the basement of Many and sold on its shop floor. The well-established brand uses essential oils and high-quality ingredients without the nasty fillers. Personally I use the perfume oil, while my partner uses the beard oil- something which not only reconditions and neatens his facial hair but leaves it soft and smelling lovely. Stocking cold-pressed soaps, foaming cleaners, massage bars and more, this is one WA brand I can highly recommend. It was lovely to meet its founder Katrina, hear what got her started and be gifted an unreleased body scrub (review coming soon!).
Owned is a clothing and accessories store featuring a 3D printer. It honestly comes down to that. Manufacturing cool 3D printed games, accessories, and jewellery as well as printed tees on organic shirts, it is no wonder Owned was one of the most impressive stops on our tour. I am sure someday we will all look back and chuckle to think about being impressed by watching a 3D printer do its thing, but we were pretty intrigued none the less. The coolest product is no doubt the stackable chair game, of which Owned sell up to 1000 of these per week. Leo just wanted to make something which resembled the sculpture next to his Owned store, so he printed a set of miniature chairs, began to stack them like the sculpture and before he knew it he had a hit game on his hands.
Of course, these are just a handful of the Many retailers, but it gives you an insight into the range available. It is the perfect place to look for interesting and thoughtful gifts, new threads and accessories.
I did say that the building had more than one level…
Upstairs on the production floor and below in the basement, Many is home to working studios of a number of artists, manufacturers, and creatives. Remnants of the former Myer departments are obvious, though these are now converted to workspaces. The businesses include carpenters, felt makers, artists, sculptors, surfboard makers, furniture makers, fashion designers and more. Although working on their commercial projects, a number of their goods are available for sale on the shop floor or you can commission them to create pieces for you. The general public is encouraged to step behind the ground floor red curtain and head up to the viewing platform to see what is being made upstairs.
You can enroll these guys to make furniture, surfboards or lamps for you, or teach you how in their workshops. The images feature companies ReSpoke, Maeker, Abdul-Rahman Abdullah, A Good Looking Man, Bodhi Tree Surfboards, Dunk N Wagnell and more. I could go into a lot of detail about each of these guys, as they all kindly introduced themselves and their spaces to us. It is evident that the talents around Perth are vast and it is encouraging to see that Many give some space for up-and-comers to rent at a low cost as they develop their professional practices.
Throughout winter Many have a program of Winter Weekends offering new trading hours, retailers and a series of workshops to engage with the community. The Skillsmithery Workshops run by Studio Bomba are a cool way to learn a new skill, enroll with friends and get a little something different out of the weekend. With classes in vintage hairstyles, making a terrarium, woodworking, floristry, web design, leatherwork, wedding planning, knitting, crotchet and a lot more there is something for everybody.
Located in Kings Square in Fremantle, Many 6160 is unlike any other department store.
Photos shot by Mario Recchia