The Valley holds a firm place in the heart of Brisbane. Like an old friend, we’ve come to understand the complexities of its character. As well as the wool stores of Teneriffe, Fortitude Valley was once the place for fabric drapery shops in the 1900s. Much of the area’s emphasis on clothing and fashion remains though Fortitude Valley has evolved into a dynamic hub for music. Cheaper rents saw many bands set up in old retail premises like the old Target building on Brunswick Street Mall, heralding the early sounds of Powderfinger and Regurgitator. Since the 1990s, we’ve seen The Valley become Brisbane’s premier live music destination with local venues helping to re-define Australian music.
Alongside these music venues, The Valley has supported fashion boutiques, independent art galleries and major art establishments which all contribute to the dynamic cultural experience. The Valley fosters the creative talent of Brisbane, on display each weekend at the Fortitude Valley Markets. Having operated for more than twenty years, these markets are held every Saturday and Sunday and with night markets starting this year, they have taken The Valley’s art and entertainment from behind walls onto the streets. Expect the wares of young designers, artisan products and vintage finds among food stalls, themed areas, live entertainment and creative pop-up activations.
The Fortitude Valley Markets have nurtured the development of many creatives, including successful clothing designer Deanne Mayocchi. Owner of the Maiocchi label, Deanne had humble beginnings selling printed t-shirts at the markets. Maiocchi clothing, which remains designed and manufactured in Brisbane, has grown to include 60 wholesalers and 105 stockists across Australia. Deanne says the Fortitude Valley Markets were instrumental in allowing her to build her enterprise. “I had built up a big enough business on the weekends at the markets to allow me to dedicate three years to building Maiocchi without taking a wage. I would turn up and open my stall at the Valley markets at 5am every Saturday, rain, hail or shine for ten years. This was a great lesson in what it takes to run your own business.”Deanne also credits the personal contact with her customers as a significant factor in her growth. “I think all the years I spent selling at the Valley markets gave me a wonderful grounding in retail and adapting to what the customer wants.”
The recent $4 million refurbishment of the Brunswick Street Mall and new management of The Valley Markets is paving the way for further appreciation and consumption of art and creative culture in Brisbane. “In the past fourteen years, there has been an increasing trend towards individualism,” Deanne notes. “People are moving away from mainstream fashion. They aren’t afraid to show their personalities through what they wear.”
The Fortitude Valley Markets
9am-4pm every Saturday and Sunday
Chinatown Mall and Brunswick Street Malls, Fortitude Valley
Photographer: Boy Dreissen