Shopping secrets hidden in the laneways of The Rocks
As you wander the laneways of The Rocks to explore the artworks and light installations of Vivid Sydney, along the way you’ll find even more treasures—secret ones, just waiting to be discovered, in the form of boutique shops, many of them unique to The Rocks.
Spend some time, delve into the laneways and your curiosity will be rewarded.
Here are our top picks for retail therapy of a secret kind.
Smarter than art
Atty Gallery is not your ordinary gallery, just like Atty the artist himself (real name Graham Atwell) is not your ordinary artist. Specialising in animals, the digital artist spends around 150 to 250 hours on each intricate new creation. On a simple, plain background, the vibrant animals show their personalities. When the artwork is finished, Atty names each animal and rather than selling the piece, he prefers to have it ‘adopted’ by its new owners. See? We told you so. Not your ordinary transaction. But the proof is in the art, and this little gallery has already got a cult following worldwide, with collectors in over 40 countries ranging from celebrities, to musicians to sports stars.
Atty Gallery, 27 Playfair St, The Rocks
In an age where many of us shop in a hurry, or online, it’s nice to know there is still a beautiful boutique, right in the heart of Sydney, where style and service are paramount. Sardis Boutique specialises in contemporary womenswear. The carefully curated collection features 25 of Australia’s leading designers such as sass & bide, White Suede, Dion Lee, Josh Goot, Zimmermann and many more. They’re all about simple pleasures: a wardrobe that is effective, versatile, stylishly simple and feminine.
Sardis Boutique, 79 George St, The Rocks
Once you discover this beauty insider’s secret, your grooming routine will never be the same. Deciem is a Canadian company that is sweeping the cosmetics world with their approach to beauty solutions and their effective, affordable products, all created and tested in their own labs. From hydrators, to long-lasting make-up, from hair serums to supplements, this one-stop beauty shop will look after every part of your body. The Rocks houses the only store in Sydney.
Deciem, 123 George Street, The Rocks
Dress for success
We may consider Joe Bananas to be a hidden secret in The Rocks, but there’s nothing subtle about these distinctive designs. Quality and craftsmanship are at the core of this fashion label, specialising in handmade, tailored clothing for men. These are garments for the creative, adventurous men who want to stand out from the crowd in sharp shirts and colourful jackets in silk and linen. This Australian designer already has plenty of global fans, including Elton John, Cliff Richard and Stephen Fry.
Joe Bananas, 103 George St, The Rocks
Brimming with gift ideas for design and art lovers, the Store of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) is a discovery worth making. Naturally, the shop offers current exhibition catalogues and merchandise, but it also features a beautiful selection of publications, Australian-made design products, hand-crafted jewellery, bags, accessories, stationery and even children’s toys. Gifts and objects aside, this is also one of Sydney’s most spectacularly good bookshops, specialising in contemporary art, artists, design and architecture.
MCA Store, 140 George St, Sydney
Function and form
Paper products you can use every day and wash over and over again? Yes, it’s not a pipe dream, it’s the speciality product of The Rocks’ store UASHMAMA. This unique boutique offers fashion, accessories and homewares, all made from specially harvested paper which looks like paper but feels like leather. It washes with ease, and is designed to withstand daily use: it’s a beautiful, sustainable product designed to hold its form for many years. Many of the products are hand-sewn in Tuscany, by families who have specialised in this craft for generations.
UASHMAMA, 140 George St, The Rocks