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Blue Mountains Tourist : Winter 2011
The Blue Mountains doesn't have high fashion houses like Milan or Paris, but there's a local 'couture' -- an individual, edgy style influenced by the way of life and the wealth of textile artists and designers who live here. "It's not seasonal, where items are grabbed because they're trendy for the moment and then discarded," says dressmaker Dawn Wigge. "It's more a brooding, deep-seated creative individualism, where people make statements with their style, allowing experimentation with colour ... Clothing becomes a drama." (Dawn is available for one-off commissions and also has an Open House each Spring/Autumn where her work is for sale, along with exquisite jackets by artist Mary Burns. Contact Dawn on (02) 4782 3710 or at email@example.com.) This Slow Shopping Trail for Fashionistas has been put together for the benefit of visitors by Anne Elliott of Slow Food Blue Mountains and Cittaslow Blue Mountains with the help of researcher Juliet Mercer. It includes a wealth of op-shops, retro/ recycled clothing shops and vintage clothing; and a number of other shops selling new clothing using ethical fibres. And because fashionistas like to take their time shopping, they've added some satisfying eateries along the way ... First port of call is the village of Glenbrook. Get an early start and arrive for breakfast. Try the Blue Tongue Lizard Café, in Ross Street, with its Bohemian atmosphere, home-cooked food, including gluten-free (and delicious cakes) or Deli Glenbrook, known for seriously excellent coffee. Later, the small cakes offered here are great for morning tea; or try their house-made pumpkin frittata with tomato relish for lunch. Mash Caf is open for breakfast too, in a great setting with open fire and specialising in organic Fair Trade coffee and tea. Once breakfast is over, spend some time at Linen and Lace and Retro Gear, featuring vintage laces, handmade items, party gear, good quality day and evening clothes as well as accessories, particularly shoes. A favourite haunt with fashion students, this shop raises funds for Presbyterian Social Services, benefitting Allowah Children's Hospital and other important programs. Further down the road is St Vincent De Paul Centre, also worth a look. Before you get back in the car (or the train), take time for a freshly-squeezed juice or smoothie at Caf Cee. Next stop is Springwood. Here, acquaint yourself with the Springwood History Walk (there's a copy on display in the School of Arts, Town Square). In Summer admire the magnificent crepe myrtles lining the main street, Macquarie Road, before you head off (at a SLOW pace, of course!) for Frou Frou Old and New. Owner Parisa Kafer's first passion is vintage clothing. However, her constantly-changing stock has a mix of eras and styles and the reasonable pricing means there's always something different. It's a beautiful place to shop for evening wear that won't be seen everywhere else! Have another 'sustenance break' at Springwood Deli Caf , near the railway station on Macquarie Road. Try a house-made mini Pavlova with fresh fruit and cream, served with coffee, for a mere $7. They also serve Devonshire teas, breakfast and make their own quiches and lasagnes. Another fashion gem, hidden behind the main street in Springwood Avenue, is the Lifeline Shop, selling quality recycled clothing, a wide variety of jackets and dresses in particular. Return to Macquarie Road via Raymond Road and you'll see Charlie's Aroma Caf , with local artwork lining the walls and shortly offering photography and live drawing classes on the premises! This is yet another café serving breakfast all day, seven days a week, with all their soups and quiches house-made. Back again in Macquarie Road and feeling like some wine with your meal? Then visit the stylish Razz Licensed Restaurant with its contemporary feel both indoors and out. Alight from the train at Wentworth Falls and you'll really enjoy ambling through this delightful village. Drop into Rare Birds ('fly with style, dress with passion') for recycled and new clothing plus some great accessories. Rare Birds also stocks ethical fibres including farmed Austrian Beechwood, which is wonderfully soft. This shop features modern designs and is open week days from 10.00am to 5.00pm and Saturdays from 10.00am to 4.00pm. If you're feeling peckish, Schwarze's is the place for pastries, cakes and sourdough breads. If sushi is more your style, try Mountain Sushi in Plantation Street. It's closed Tuesday and Sunday. Also worth trying are the Seven Italian restaurant and lunch or dinner at the Grand View Hotel. The garden village of Leura has a variety of interesting fashionista shops, including Renom e (behind the Mall) stocking vintage, retro and recycled designer clothing, shoes and accessories. Leura Vintage upstairs in the Mall (top end) is a fun shop, with lots of retro, great shoes and jewellery and a juke box adding to the atmosphere. The Nook is also worth a look while up this end. It promotes goods by local artists/producers and has a wide range of clothing, textile and fibre art, plus hand knitted products. They also stock a range of locally- produced foods including Telopea Honey from Medlow Bath and teas from Leura Teas. The Australian Alpaca Centre in the Leura Strand Arcade offers knits such as jumpers, cardigans and accessories made of course from alpaca wool, considered 'fibre of the gods'. Ikou Natural Living Eco-Store is also great to visit for ethical fibres such as organic cotton in home wares and clothing. Ikou also makes its own 100% natural bath and body products. Eateries to visit include The Red Door, offering good café food and producing their own preserves and even a dog cookie, so your pooch doesn't miss out, either! Stockmarket Caf offers house-made cakes such as Belgian lemon tea cake, rhubarb and raspberry crumble; good soups such as organic beetroot and ginger with tarragon cream; and extremely hearty breakfasts! Josophan's is the place for hot chocolate and over at Leura Deli, take your pick from a range of locally-made products including Victory Lane Jams, Whisk and Pin Mueslis and biscuits, Woodford Honey, Blue M Onion Chilli Jam and Lemon Butter. The elegance, service and style of Silk's Brasserie is the perfect place for lunch or dinner, giving fashionistas time to draw breath before the next stop, Katoomba. This art deco 'café central' village cries out to be explored on foot! Make sure you grab a copy of the Katoomba Heritage and Art Walk to fully-appreciate it all. Visit The Carrington Hotel for a cocktail or two at Champagne Charlie's Bar, before heading off to dinner at their award-winning Old City Bank Brasserie. Look into Zuri, also up the top end to see their range of organic cotton, bamboo and fair trade clothing. On the other side of Katoomba Street at Mr. Pickwick's Books, go upstairs to wade through a wide variety of vintage clothing. At the top of Katoomba Street is Little Wing, offering fresh funky designs and pre-loved items for women who want to feel beautiful! Owned by Michelle Ryan, this boutique also stocks Wyse Body Wear containing Beechwood chip ethical fibres, as well as some Slow Shopping Trail for Fashionistas Juliet Green, Shermann & Betty Found at Victory Antiques Blackheath: A classique Studibaker Hawk designer dress from the 1980s Free iPhone app www.scenicworld.com.au/bmapp 29