About Us

We are the costume stylists transforming you from your ordinary person clothes into a fabulous new character.

Hardware Lane Costumes is a place where all people and communities can get together and share their dress-up passion, skills and ideas. This includes (but is not limited to) the cosplay, dance, flash mob, drag, local zombie and corporate event communities.

With over 450 character sets in store, an estimated 7,000 individual items, and over 1,000 quality wigs in our wig bar, we specialise in helping people win ‘best dressed’ – whether you’re a non-creative, or a creative with no time and immediate party needs.

Each of our stylists have a background in either design, dance, theatre, film, comedy or performance art, and are standing by to help you break free from your regular day to day.

Our Story

HWLN Costumes has a long history in one of Melbourne’s most iconic laneways, first opening around 12 years ago as Costume Factory Melbourne.

Some of our costume pieces date back to the Melbourne musical theatre heyday of the 1960s (some still have the famous J.C. Williamson’s label inside!)

We have ex-costume pieces from Opera Australia, Australian Ballet, Melbourne Theatre Company and a huge range of other classic theatrical costumes in our collection.

Zoe worked in the store as a casual employee for 4 years before taking up the opportunity to purchase the store herself in 2015.

She studied at the Victorian College of the Arts majoring in Dramatic Art – Costume and Set Design.

She has a background in designing for live theatre, sculptural costumes and site-specific performance work. With this passion for styling, Zoe finds great joy in helping people dress up for the first time, popping their ‘costume cherry’ so to speak 😉

“The most fun thing is to transform and seriously mess with people’s expectations of you. If you haven’t experienced that feeling before, it’s my honour to show you how it works.

People often think their identities are fixed, but in fact – with a few small tweaks like a wig or a good pair of tight trousers – all of that can be changed, even just for one night.

Like Cinderella going out to the ball you can make the world turn its head and realise that we are not so stuck in our ways after all.” – Zoe, owner HWLN Costumes