Rebel Muse is without a doubt the coolest clothing store in Canberra. It was established in 2015 by local Canberran, Alicia Xyrakis, who took a big chance on Canberra which paid off big time. Rebel Muse is located on Lonsdale Street in Braddon and stocks high-quality clothing, footwear and accessories which just beg for you to invest and take them home. I sat down with Alicia to chat about her journey, Rebel Muse and fashion more generally.
Tell me about conscious consumerism.
Our main motto is quality over quantity. In a world of fast fashion, it is very easy to look at clothes as disposable. Instead, we look at clothes as special pieces that you invest in and wear many times. They are works of art.
Let me give you a bit of context about fast and slow fashion. Our designers spend five months designing their collections, we then buy pieces, and they spend six months making the clothing before it arrives in store. Essentially, we buy our clothes six months in advance – but they are in production for far longer than that. Stores like Zara and HnM do the entire process – design all the way to stocking the clothing in store – in two weeks. This is mass-produced, fast fashion – much of which ends up in landfill.
We are actually trying to take our commitment to slow fashion further. By 2019 the majority of our brands will be made in Australia, and if they are made in China they will have an ethical stamp of approval.
One of the biggest things we get grilled on is our prices. But you have to think: if you buy jeans for $20, someone has had to grow the cotton, turn the cotton into fabric, turn the fabric into jeans … How many people can your $20 really support?
What are your thoughts on the fashion scene in Canberra?
Canberra’s fashion scene is expanding. It is! Because of the large numbers of public servants, we find that a lot of our stuff isn’t super wearable on a day-to-day basis. So, we are trying to encourage people to be a little more adventurous and break out of their comfort zones.
Tell me a little bit more about your events.
We have always tried to throw events to give back to our customers and create a community feel.
Sometimes we will open our store late, order champagne and cheese and just chat and shop with our customers. Sometimes the whole building stays open for late night shopping and drinks!
Tell me a little bit more about your AfterPay option.
We offer AfterPay instore and online. Essentially, you don’t have to make a payment on the day and can choose your instalments. Having this option just makes purchasing those investment pieces easier.
Do you have any advice for young aspiring entrepreneurs considering giving their ventures a go in Canberra?
Know your market. Seriously, know your market. And also be aware of the one-, two- and three-year plans for your area. We had a lot of growing pains that I didn’t anticipate because of the construction that comes with development.