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Posts Tagged ‘Melbourne’

One of the best parts of a trip back to London is a chance to go on a shopping spree to the famous British high street and pick up some bargains in Topshop, New Look or Primark.

So I should be really excited that Topshop opened its doors to the Australian public in Melbourne last month. And I should be even more happy that later this year, a second store will open here in Sydney.

Right? Wrong.

I think the decision to allow Topshop to open up shop in Australia was a big mistake.

Here’s why:

1)    It will undermine the Topshop brand

Australians love Topshop. They are crazy for it. You’ve only got to read about how hundreds camped out overnight for the Melbourne opening to realise this. And tell any female Australian between the age of 13 – 35 years old that you’re from England and I guarantee that shortly afterwards she’ll ask you about Topshop.

But the point is, Australians love Topshop because they can’t shop there. It’s seen as this magical shopping haven, a dreamy place that is so amazing, precisely because so few of them have ever been or ever owned anything from there.

Compare this to the UK, where you’d be hard pressed to find someone who didn’t own something from Topshop. It’s just doesn’t stay exciting after that.

Topshop is the epitome of the British High Street, by making it more accessible to the worldwide market it will lose its desirability as a brand and the exclusivity that comes with having to go all the way to England to buy from it. It may sound an exaggeration, but Topshop also plays its part in Brand Britain, a ‘must-do’ on the list of every female from Oz who has ever managed to make the trip overseas. So it won’t just be Topshop that suffers.

2)    It won’t be as good as Topshop

Australia faces huge challenges in shipping and distribution due to its size and distance between major cities (and the rest of the world). Prices are high here because it costs so much to get anything sent here.

One of the signature appeals of Topshop is that the stock changes weekly, daily sometimes, to keep fashion forward and relevant. Topshop Australia just won’t be able to compete with the low prices, turnover of stock and varied selection that is available in Europe. With just two outlets in Oz, and several continents away from the remainder of the chain, I really doubt we will be able to buy much of the range that is advertised on the UK website.

3)    It will ruin Australian retailers

Even if Topshop can keep its prices cheap, why is that a good thing? It will undercut much of the Australian high street (where prices are notoriously high) and be a stab in the back to Australian homegrown retailers. Sydney high streets should be occupied by Australian designers, a signal of support to Australian brands and a chance for further growth. Why bring in Topshop to lure the dollars from the purse of teenagers and young women. We’ve already had Zara opening in Sydney and Melbourne late last year and now Topshop, where will it end?  It’s well publicised that whilst the Australian economy is thriving, Aussie high street retailers are not. Sales are down, stores are closing and we need to give them all the support we can to help them to survive. Not plunge in amongst them unfair competition of cheap clothing to replace them.

4)    We need to protect Australia from disposable fashion

Australia should be proud of the fact it hasn’t succumbed to the world of disposable fashion like Britain has. There is nothing comparable to the likes of Primark here, and long may that last. Women here still choose style and quality over a cheap piece of fabric that they will wear once then throw away.

5)    Our High Streets will all look the same

This is the one I’m most sad about. Topshop Sydney will be located in the old Gowings building (old Supre store) on George Street. It’s a landmark location and one of the busiest intersections in the city. Deadset in the centre of the city on probably the most famous street in Sydney. Sound familiar? Yes, that’s because it’s nearly identical in spec to that of Topshop on Oxford Street. But imitating the original will only encourage comparisons. The British tourist arriving in Sydney later this year will just see a high street that is disappointingly similar to that which they’ve just left at home. And what’s the appeal then?

What do you think? Is Topshop a good addition to the British High Street?

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picture of rain

Is this all we have to look forward to this weekend in Sydney?

It’s December in Sydney and the sun should be shining!

But sadly, our plans for the beach, barbecues and outdoor beers are on hold as the rain is predicted to set in for the second weekend in a row.

So, what to do? Here’s my top five suggestions for making the best out of the miserable weather this weekend:

1)      Sushi and songs

For the perfect all-in-one dinner/drinks/late-night entertainment venue that saves you having to bar-hop through the rain, head to Mizuya on George Street. This underground restaurant serves up delicious, fresh sushi in cozy surroundings, far away from the disappointing weatheroutside. The hot pot with wagyu beef is a favourite of mine, and the various meat and fish skewers are addictive. Better still, you get to order your dinner on a touch screen at your table, meaning you can keep going back for more until you’re stuffed!

Oh, and once you’re full of sushi and sake, simply head down the corridor to the real reason Mizuya was created – karaoke booths where you can gather all your mates into a sealed room, belt out your favourite songs until the early hours and even order more sushi if you wish!

2)      Head to an Irish Bar

That’s right, what better way to spend a rainy Saturday afternoon, than settled down in a traditional Irish Pub with some hearty grub, a live band or two and perhaps a pint of Guinness. There’s plenty of options in central Sydney including PJ O’Brien’s, Durty Nelly’s, Scruffy Murphy’s and Paddy Maguires.

For the ultimate Irish experience however – and a venue I can’t recommend enough – head to Mulligan’s restaurant in Chippendale. You’ll enjoy the best comfort food in Sydney, in surroundings which feel like you’re in the living room of a cuddly older relative.

3)      Pretend you’re in the UK

For an ex-pat, Christmas in Australia has meant swapping many of the traditional wintry fayre for light, summery bites in reflection of the warmer weather. So this weekend, why not head to Lindt Cafe at Darling Harbour and indulge with a warming hot chocolate and marshmallows, or snuggle up at home with a hot mince pie, brandy butter and your favourite Greatest Hits Xmas CD.

4)      Get cultural

Time to explore all the museums, art galleries and other interesting parts of Sydney that it just seems wrong to visit when the sun is shining. First stop could be the new Picasso exhibition now open at Art Gallery New South Wales where you’ll get to see more than 150 pieces of his work.

5)      Get out of Sydney and catch a flight to Melbourne

Four words that need no further explanation: Topshop is now open. What better reason do we need to escape Sydney for the weekend than a chance to explore one of the UK’s most successful fashion chains now open at its first location in Australia. Prepare yourself for chaos and queues, but it’ll be worth it when you get to swan into work on Monday in your brand new Topshop clothes.

Who needs sunshine!

What are your weekend plans?

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Can someone please explain to me the point of celebrating the Melbourne Cup?

A three-minute horse race that happens 900km away from Sydney, is celebrated by thousands, dressed head to toe in their finest race wear as if they were actually attending the event?

These people fill the streets of Sydney. Spending hundreds of dollars on an outfit, only to watch one televised horse race that’s happening across the country in another state?

The happy punters proceed to get drunk on champagne for many hours after the said race, in a bar that they wouldn’t be seen anywhere near on any other Tuesday night.

Yes, that’s right, this is a Tuesday. Let’s all go out and get drunk on a Tuesday night. Perfectly normal behaviour.

“It’s the Melbourne Cup!” they say.

So what? We’re in Sydney!

“It’s the race that stops a nation!” they say.

Yes, but for around three minutes at just after 3pm. It’s now gone midnight and you’re off your face in a dodgy bar on George Street, probably making a pass at someone you vaguely know from work. You’ve not even got the weekend to try and save face after that one.

“It’s an excuse to get dressed up!” they say.

But is it not ridiculous for you to be dressed as if you are actually going to this race, complete with hat / fascinator in hair, when you’re not going to be anywhere near this race? In fact, you’ll most probably be watching the race in your office with all the other idiots sucked into this strange annual ritual. Best case scenario you’re in that bar you sometimes go to for lunch down the road. Except the $10 daytime menu is coincidentally replaced by a $100 three-course set menu with a glass of bubbly on the door.

And don’t get me started on the people that pay to go to Randwick Race Course in Sydney….to watch it ‘amongst the atmosphere’ on a bit bigger tv screen.

Please. Explain it to me. Am I missing something here?

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