Saint Mangos Lane is now home to collaborative retail store Espacio Salvaje, which has been spicing up the laneway with unique, Latin- inspired, ethical fashion garments since late last year.
Translating to “wild space” in Spanish, Espacio Salvaje is a co-founded project of owner and di- rector of Latina Styles Karin Rosales, owner and director of Noelle Shoes Noelia Young, and operations and marketing director Xander James.
While a relatively new project, with both brands beginning their collaboration last year in Ms Rosales’ smaller Fitzroy location, the new space in Docklands is inspiring them to think bigger and better.
“It’s a journey, because it’s a retail space but it’s also a collaborative space, and we are also introducing smaller online businesses, who don’t have a physical location, into the space,” Mr James said.
“We also want to run some work- shops to help empower start-ups and entrepreneurs, and to help build them up and give them some direction.”
Ms Rosales first founded Latina Styles nearly five years ago after seeing a gap in the Australian market.
Put off by seeing racks of the same clothes that did little for curves and the natural body shapes of many women, she decided it was time for someone to showcase Latin culture through fashion.
“Latinas are all about looking good and feeling good, and we like to dress up, stand out, and be wearing some- thing different,” Ms Rosales said.
Starting with swimwear and activewear, the store now contains a wide range of clothes for all occasions under the banner of multiple brands, with Ms Rosales’ Latina Styles brand also in the process of expanding its collection of womenswear and menswear.
“I was inspired to give people a place with one-of-a-kind pieces. People can shop here and know they won’t find another person wearing the same item at a party or the gym,” she said.
“Australian women also have curves like Latina women, and some- times the clothes here don’t really shape them or flatter their bodies, whereas we sell quality clothes in flattering styles that are made for every type of body.”
Ms Rosale's business partner and one half of Espacio Salvaje, Ms Young, offers Colombian handmade premium leather products for both women and men – including shoes, jackets, hats, belts, handbags, and accessories.
In addition to providing clothes that flatter, the goal of all of the founders of Espacio Salvaje is for the clothes they sell, and brands they sup- port, to be high quality and ethical.
On the partnership they have with big brands in Columbia, where clothes are produced by small designers, artisans, and single working women, Ms Rosales said, “80 per cent of [the store’s] items are handmade”.
And with a new collection due to arrive soon, locals are urged not to miss out, with the brands’ first Docklands runway to be held on Sunday, February 19.
The event will provide a chance for locals to witness the magic of what separates Espacio Salvaje apart and get their hands on limited-edition garments, offering a night they won’t forget.
“The majority of items are ones we are not stocking in the shop at the moment, so it will be full of surprises and there will be new designers invited and a couple of guests who have Latina brands made in Australia or designed in Australia and locally-made in Latin America,” Ms Rosales said.
“The models are also our real customers which is really unique, and it’ll be an experience for them and for us. We want to be showing normal bodies in different sizes, shapes, and colours.”
The event will also feature competitions and special prizes, drinks and nibbles, and tunes from “Docklands’ number one and favourite DJ”, who so happens to also be Espacio Salvaje’s very own Mr James.
“We want it to just be an event that is fun, interactive, and cosy,” Ms Rosales said.
For more information visit Espacio Salvaje – 24 Saint Mangos Lane, Docklands VIC 3008.
Trading Hours: Tue - Fri: 11 am - 7 pm | Sat - Sun: 11 am - 6 pm