Clothing The Gap
The social justice enterprise has taken its online clothing store onto Sydney Road.
April 01, 2021
Aboriginal-owned and -led social enterprise Clothing the Gap campaigns for important issues impacting Indigenous Australians, promotes social change and invests in projects that make a difference in the lives of the country's First Nations population. You may have seen its efforts against the copyright of the Aboriginal Flag with the Free the Flag campaign, or against the celebrations on January 26.
One way the organisation raises money and awareness is through its popular clothing. The line of meaningful merch has been such a success that Clothing the Gap has now opened a retail store in Melbourne, setting up shop on Sydney Road, Brunswick, Wurundjeri Country. Since opening in December 2020, the store has been a hub for Clothing the Gap clothing range, as well as for other Aboriginal-owned businesses — and an important community space, too.
"Opening a physical store was not in our foreseeable future pre COVID, but it is incredibly exciting having a bla(c)k space people can visit," Clothing the Gap Head of Brand and Marketing, Sianna Catullo says. "Everything in store, from the staff to the clothes, to the music is bla(c)k. We invite non-Indigenous people to learn, shop and reflect more here."
On entering the store, you'll find the roof of the shop is adorned with a sand-blasted artwork and LED light instillations created by Clothing the Gap co-founder Laura Thompson. As you browse the racks, you'll find the best picks from the Clothing the Gap online shop. Products on display currently from other Indigenous owned businesses include earrings from The Koorie Circle, Acknowledgement of Country plaques by Kinya Lerrk and eucalyptus-scented candles by Matakupaat Arts.
New Clothing the Gap pieces also appear in-store first before heading online. According to Catullo, the products hit the shelves in-person first, "so we can hear firsthand what our community are loving about them, and so we can grab some pics for our socials. It is important to us that our CTG community represents and continues to be the face of our brand".
Items in-store also contain one of two labels that are designed to help non-Indigenous allies navigate the shelves. Catullo says that Clothing the Gap would often receive messages asking what was appropriate for non-Indigenous customers to wear, and so designed these symbols to assist. All products both in-store and online are labelled with the symbols 'Ally Friendly' for merch accessible to all and 'Mob Only' for items designed for Indigenous community members to wear — those containing slogans like 'Shades of Deadly', for instance.