By James Tapp
Tatty's, Paper Bag Princess, Vixen and Savemart. Some of just a few op shops you'll find on K Road or near uni and somewhere where you can go to become a true edgy, indie teen. But second-hand shopping isn't just for those who want ripped up clothes – it’s so much more than that. Ask anyone who op shops on a semi regular basis and you'll hear stories about the wildest pieces of clothing or vintage numbers you’d never be able to find anywhere else. While looking good is important, op shopping allows you to have a far greater impact than just outshining the people around you. Buying pre worn clothes provides a great alternative to fast fashion and also mounts pressure on the big brands to think more about quality and longevity.
On average, people get rid of around 19 items each time they do a spring clean. So, if you do a spring clean every two years, between the ages of 18 and 80 you could end up throwing a lot away. In fact, by the time you’re on death’s door, you’ll have gotten rid of close to 590 items of clothing. Maybe your favourite blouse doesn’t fit, or it’s got a stain, but that doesn't mean it won’t fit someone else or that someone else might be able to get that stain out. PLUS, you’re literally throwing money away. There are a number of stores where you can give them your clothes, generally those in good condition, and receive 50% commission if they sell. So, if those items sold for an average of $40 and you get $20 of that, you’ll have saved $1000, which can be put back into purchasing more amazing clothes.
Let’s talk about stereotypes. You may be thinking: ‘Op shops are just for hipsters and those who truly care about the environment’. And you’re right. But stereotypes are also bullshit. Anyone can go and find their dream dress or jacket, because it’s not just hipsters that’re donating clothes, everyone is. Aimee Egdell is the owner and director of Tatty’s and says her goal was never to focus on a particular stereotypical customer. In fact, she calls her Ponsonby and High Street locations “baby department stores."
"Anyone can go and find their dream dress or jacket, because it’s not just hipsters that are donating clothes, everyone is"
“You can have three or four generations come through and they’re all able to find something they like,” she says.
To hear this straight from the horse's mouth is extremely encouraging. It’s cool to think that second-hand clothing can go towards those who couldn’t have afforded to buy them new. It’s a whole new way of thinking, for those who are environmentally savvy, want to stand out from the crowd, or just want to find high quality clothing at a cheaper price.
Having talked to Aimee, something I realised was that the power actually lies with those who give. Hearing about being given Andy Warhol, Paco Rabanne and Issey Miyake pieces to sell, it takes those with amazing clothes to trust people like Aimee to do their job. So consider this a call out to that pair of jeans that doesn’t fit anymore or that jacket which cramps your aesthetic. You never know what you may be able to swap them out for.