Where To Shop in Christchurch & Auckland
As Christchurch is being reshaped and Auckland continues to sprawl out, finding that gem of a store where you immediately feel at home can be a bit challenging. Once you have discovered it, though, it just keeps getting better.
There are three main locations I can’t go without in the Garden City that has so much more on offer than its (admittedly stunning) green spaces and architectural redevelopment. In fact, Christchurch is home to some of New Zealand’s most talented designers, best kitchens, and, most importantly for this post, innovative shopping spaces.
The Colombo is everything but your average mall. It’s an experience. Its engaging shopping environment is truly unique, and by continuously reinventing itself with additions of emerging designers and eating spaces it is always worth a visit. Its newest concept of pairing simple fashion with seriously good pressed juices, books, homeware and flowers at The Collective is exceptionally seamless and makes for a more holistic and inspiring shopping experience. In addition, old favourites such as Andrea Biani and Zip Me Up can’t be missed alongside constantly changing pop up stores and its fabulous art house cinema.
For some reason, visits to The Tannery make me feel nostalgic; in a good way, of course. I don’t know whether it’s the Victorian architecture (tracing back to the early 1880s) or the careful display of local artisans and international fashion favourites, but it offers a very special and creative retail precinct. Its atrium is home to Kiwi labels ranging from the gorgeously understated and durable travel wear Alchemy Equipment, fashion forward KILT, cutting edge and always on-point Raw Nova, to preloved designer goodies from the Recycle Boutique.
Whenever I go for a run, I take a route (slash detour) by this gorgeous store that, more than once, has made me slow down to the point I was trying another pair of well-curated boots. So, I’d guess it’s safe to say that, no matter what season, their collections are stunning, diverse, and different. In New Zealand, I often find that many spaces offer very similar products whereas Issimo continuously stays true to its style and takes a refreshing approach on shoe wear.
Finding that one special store in Auckland can be a bit overwhelming, especially when you don’t live there. As diverse and eclectic the neighbourhoods are, as broad is the range of shopping on offer. Here are my four Auckland favourites.
Rickie Dee’s and James Ridgen’s vision is one-of-a-kind. While the Auckland fashion duo curates some of the best designer pieces on offer in the country, their Newmarket-based store also makes you feel good. In fact, upon entering, there is a sense of familiarity to Superette, a sense of feeling like you got to the right place at the right time. The choice of colour, lighting, decoration and outlay make this space seem effortless yet outstanding. By the way, their staff is wonderfully welcoming (for a change), too!
Perhaps the word ‘random’ best describes Karangahape Road’s array of shops. Some are definitely a bit a hit and miss, while others are packed with vintage goodness just waiting to be found by you. Grab a bite to eat at the fantastic Saint Kevin’s Arcade, rummage through the piles of denim overalls, rustic leather bags and floral shirts, and step out like you own the ’70s.
Similar to NYC’s Meatpacking District, the once neglected neighbourhood of Britomart was transformed into a vibrant precinct housing some of Auckland’s best views and best shopping. While its names are luxurious, exclusive and on most fashionista’s wishlist, they are also affordable, young, and very wearable. Be sure to check out CouCou for some vintage treasures, Khiel’s for cutting edge natural skin care and Kathryn Wilson for what are easily New Zealand’s most beautiful shoes (!).
Last but not least, this list wouldn’t be complete without a store I stumbled across a couple of days ago. Located in the heart of Auckland’s CBD, the Huffer Basement not only beautifully displays one of NZ’s most iconic high street fashion brands, but it also designs and sells its second line, AIM. AIM is all about clean cuts, simple silhouettes, and luxurious fabrics.
PS. It may also be home to Auckland’s coolest dressing room. ;-)
Now, over to you! What are you favourite fashion finds in NZ? Any hidden gems out there the world should know about?
By the way, I will of course also cover Dunedin and Wellington, but I will need to spend some more time in Dunners first and possibly revisit my first NZ home Windy Welly, as every store or brand I write about I am truly passionate about myself (and have been so for many years).