Made590

14 May
Brooches and earrings

A selection of brooches and earrings.

Walking into Made590 is akin to that celluloid moment when Dorothy first arrives in Munchkinland. But instead of being approached by the Lullaby League and the Lollipop Guild, one is greeted by individuals who believe in quality products over the fast fashion that the High Street pumps out.

Behind the Newtown store is Christina Kelly. Her mission is to sell things with a design influence. Made590 opened its red wooden doors in October 2004. Before that, Christina sold her screen-printed designs at Bondi and Paddington Markets.

“We opened at a really boom time. We were really, really busy from day one,” says Christina. “We’ve been around long enough to have an educated clientele who know what we’re about.”

What lies at the heart of Made590 is a belief that form follows functionality and affordability. Made590 is about all things quirky, colourful and well made. It is crammed with handmade clothing and carefully curated homewares and accessories.

Display on shelves

A menagerie of animals and other quirky homewares.

Made590 gives the impression of a mini-zoo: owl cookie jars are displayed alongside a ceramic deer planter.  The penchant for animals isn’t limited to homewares. Creatures such as dancing bears and owls in trees feature on clothing and accessories. The window display also features a squirrel, a pig and a red bird sporting the latest collections instead of the usual store mannequins.

The displays inside the store reflect Christina’s love of colour and well made things. This is even referenced in the change rooms thanks to the Eames hang-it-alls that were installed when the shop first opened – the knobs look like sweets in brilliant hues of magenta, ultramarine and other jewel tones.   Christina says they were purchased “before they were really popular and therefore expensive”.

An emphasis on quality and affordability is also present in the store’s clothing lines. At Made590, everything comes back to prints and good fabrics. The store stocks clothing from independent local designers such as Rodeo Show, Finders Keepers and The Raisin did it. Christina and her team also produce a lot of items themselves.

The final product of the fire fire print

The final product of the ‘fire fire’ print – a collaboration with Andrea Smith.                Image: Made590

Made590 thrives on collaboration. Christina is most proud of the ‘fire fire’ print that she worked on with local graphic designer and illustrator Andrea Smith. Inspired by Christina’s childhood, the print depicts animals in a forest. The design appears on the colourful window display decals, prints and clothes.

“It’s about working with local designers on a vision I have and getting someone to bring it to life,” Christina says.  “The result was a totally new vision, but I love it.”

The bestsellers at Made590 are tops that feature Christina’s designs. She originally sold them at markets. Eight years on, Christina still does all of the print design and production herself. “I’ll design them and screenprint them every Monday and Tuesday – most of our customers have two or three,” she says.

So how is this playful store capitalising on Australia’s love of online shopping? “We have the best website – EVER. We wanted it to look like the shop, the whole Made590 experience online,” Christina says.

Lights with fabric lampshades

Lights made with Made590’s quirky fabrics

A lot of Made 590’s customers often see things online but come in to purchase items instead via the internet. Why do they like to visit the actual store? For the experience of looking, touching, trying on? If so, say so. If anything, the Made590 site is a 24/7 online shop front for the actual store. The team also share their excitement about new designs and prints with their customers on Facebook and Instagram.

“We’re very into customer service – that sets us apart,” says Christina. “Well, apart from our designs and quality.”

2 Responses to “Made590”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Me & Oli « Behind the Seams - June 13, 2012

    […] ‘roo-mance’ print that she designed for Made590 featured fine line illustrations of kangaroos wearing red neck bows. A coin-themed ‘dollars & […]

  2. The Finders Keepers Markets « Behind the Seams - June 13, 2012

    […] any good line-up, there is a mix of first timers and more established stalls. Newtown store Made590 has been sponsoring the event since 2009. The stall is sprawling with racks of new winter clothing […]

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