Stylish spots for the design-conscious
A well-thought-out and stylish store fit-out can be a thing of great joy. The feeling you get when you walk into a beautiful space encourages you to linger, to browse and just maybe try something on. Here are some of Wellington's most good-looking stores for an incredibly stylish shopping experience.
104 Victoria Street, Te Aro, Wellington
Fitting for a label most famous for their beautiful underwear, Lonely’s flagship store on Victoria Street is a private sanctuary that’s hidden from view from the street. Designed by leading architectural designer Rufus Knight (also behind Aesop and Yu Mei store fitouts), the marble and concrete walls and floor are juxtaposed with a stunning purple sofa and a rustic handwoven rug. Shopping at Lonely is a lovely experience where every detail has been thought through: from the staff, to the complimentary sparking water and the beautiful dried flower arrangements at the door.
57 Ghuznee Street, Te Aro, Wellington
Caughley has that effortless cool that comes with a well-cut pair of jeans and an organic cotton t-shirt.
Run by charismatic owner Rachel Caughley, the store reflects her own effortless style and exuberance. The store has a carefully selected edit of pieces from coveted international brands and emerging New Zealand designers and there's always a good range of timeless accessories, jewellery and shoes - all handpicked by Rachel.
The cool-without-trying-too-hard store is filled with beautiful natural light that pours in through the street-facing windows and is a lovely place to spend some time.
29 College Street, Te Aro, Wellington
Fitting for a label inspired by craftsmanship that began right here in Wellington, the Kowtow flagship store is a masterpiece of natural, locally-sourced and sustainable materials. It’s the perfect backdrop for browsing Kowtow’s seasonal collections, and the kind of space you’ll want to linger in. Inspired by architecture and street style, Kowtow’s clothes are designed to move freely with their wearers.
Wellington-based Kowtow founder, Gosia Piatek, is involved with every aspect of the production of clothing by her avant-garde label, dedicated to fairtrade and organic cotton and sustainable, ethical production. Gosia believes consumer choices should have positive consequences and impact on the world around us.
35 Ghuznee Street, Te Aro, Wellington
‘The goods you buy should resonate, not disintegrate’ is the mantra of Precinct 35, a homeware, art and furniture store on Ghuznee Street.
Owner Prak Sritharan carefully curates the regularly changing offerings and has an excellent eye for good design and handmade ceramics both made locally and sourced from around the world. There’s also an art gallery at the back of the store which shows a regularly changing line-up of contemporary art including painting, photography and sculpture.
Every object and artwork at Precinct 35 has a story to tell and are built to last – and they look pretty good, too.
30 Ghuznee Street, Te Aro, Wellington
In a beautifully laid-out retail space on Ghuznee Street, ENA presents a collection of dreamy and elegant garments from some of New Zealand's most beloved labels.
ENA, pronounced "ee-na" is named after Nadya's grandmother and is the place to discover your new favourite brand. Owner and Massey fashion graduate Nadya France-White has a great eye for classic and striking design and brings together a thoughtful and unique edit of local and international contemporary design.
27 Ghuznee Street, Te Aro, Wellington
You could say that Wellington label twenty-seven names has acquired something of a cult-like following. Their clothing is classically practical and simple to wear yet has an element of whimsy with covetable prints and bold colours. Designers (and best friends) Anjali Stewart and Rachel Stewart put a strong focus on sustainability and keeping it local – their line is designed and made in Wellington using natural fabrics. Visit their beautiful store on Ghuznee Street to check out the entire seasonal range.
2/16 Jessie Street, Te Aro, Wellington
No16 is one of those stores you stumble upon and it instantly becomes one of your new favourite places. Run by the incomparable Anna Ronberg, a whirlwind of style and good humour, No16 is ranked by many stylish locals their favourite place to shop.
Anna makes regular buying trips to Europe where she handpicks a selection of international brands to bring back, including Comme des Garcons, Junya Watanabe, PLAY, Noir, Acne Studios, Sofie D'Hoore, Pleats Please, Issey Miyake and Dries Van Noten. No16 also has some well-loved second-life designer items for sale.
150 Featherston St, Te Aro, Wellington
Oh Aesop, just by walking into the store you instantly feel like a more stylish and better-smelling version of yourself.
The brand has developed a cult-like following for their skin, hair and body care formulations which not only work but smell divine. A haven of beautiful products and beautiful design, Aesop’s Wellington store is the kind of place you’ll want to linger.
The store was fitted out by New Zealand interior design star Rufus Knight and features abundant use of natural timber contrasted with brass shelves and a bespoke brass sink with aged brass tapware that is the centrepiece of the store.
28 Ghuznee Street, Te Aro, Wellington
Nestled in the hip Ghuznee Street precinct, Deadly Ponies brings an avant-garde edge to the street’s sartorial line-up. The Brancusi-inspired fit-out glows with colour and shape and is the perfect theatrical backdrop for the label’s line of glamorous leather bags and accessories that are known for challenging conventional notions of design. The internationally-renowned New Zealand label was founded in 2005 and uses beautifully soft, ethically-sourced leathers to make objects that you’ll keep and treasure for many years to come.
Old Bank Arcade
233-237 Lambton Quay, Te Aro, Wellington
Set in the historic Bank of New Zealand building, Old Bank Arcade brings a sense of old-world glamour to new world shopping.
A fully-enclosed shopping experience, Old Bank Arcade is housed inside one of Wellington’s most distinguished heritage buildings, the Edwardian Baroque grandeur of the building has been restored and adapted to its new life as a premium shopping destination.
A mecca for Kiwi fashion, Old Bank is home to some of New Zealand's favourite fashion labels including Ruby, Taylor, Caroline Sills, Ricochet and Workshop.
102 Victoria Street, Te Aro, Wellington
World’s Wellington store is part show-room, part-gallery, part-theatre and part-perfumery. The large World store on Victoria Street stocks the World clothing collections, as well as a huge range of artisan luxury fragrances – heaven for anyone into niche and hard-to-find fragrances. New Zealand designers Dame Denise L'Estrange-Corbet and her husband Francis Hooper are behind the World brand which is one of the leading and most avant-garde fashion houses in New Zealand known for their flamboyance and theatricality.
174 Cuba Street, Te Aro, Wellington
If you have a thing for collecting watches or if you’re looking for a new or vintage timepiece to adorn your wrist, FiveFortyFive is your place. Wellington’s only specialist pre-owned watch shop stocks an extensive range of watches ranging in age from new to antique and from Swiss to Japanese. Owner Malcolm Brow opened the store to help spread the in-decline joy of owning and wearing a beautiful watch. “In an increasingly digital world, there’s something incredibly grounding about owning and wearing a fine timepiece,” he says.
85 Victoria Street, Te Aro, Wellington
If Wellington has an ‘it’ bag, it would most certainly be made by Yu Mei. Founded by Wellingtonian Jessie Wong, Yu Mei create leather bags and accessories that are functional with an understated luxury that are made in the heart of Wellington. Yu Mei’s flagship store on Victoria Street has a clean and minimalistic design and is a stunning place to experience Yu Mei’s often-updated collection of leather goods, which ranges from bags to wallets and accessories. Each Yu Mei design is made from 100% South Island, New Zealand farmed and tanned deer nappa which makes for an object that’s unbelievably soft and develops a lovely patina with age.
103 Customhouse Quay, Wellington
With a classic industrial warehouse feel, Zambesi’s Wellington store is the home of avant-garde labels for men and women. The in-store edit includes their own Zambesi collections, plus New Zealand and international labels. Zambesi is one of New Zealand’s foremost and longest-running fashion labels and was founded in 1979 by Elisabeth and Neville Findlay. Zambesi is the place for enduring fashion with unexpected twists, with a clever mix of practicality and imagination.