Opportunity Shop : Fashionable and Sustainable!

Fast fashion has always had an era. Cheap, affordable, not to mention on-trend clothing – what’s not to like? Well to be frank, a lot of things.

Fast fashion clothing is usually made in garment factories in third world countries, such as Indonesia and Bangladesh. The wages of workers in these factories are abysmally low, as low as AU$2-4 a day. On top of that, fast fashion is bad for the environment too, as the volume of water consumed by apparel production each year is reportedly equivalent to 32 million Olympic swimming pools. You think this is crazy? Remember these facts when walking to your local big-name fashion stores.

So what are some other affordable yet fashionable options for us who want to look good without breaking the bank?

Vintage Shopping

As the city of the arts, Melbourne is a melting pot of not only different cultures, but also people with different tastes and styles. For us fashion lovers, this is a massive pro, as the city is littered with op shops, both franchises or privately-owned, containing massive collection of second-hand goods.

For those who have never gone thrift-shopping before, buying second-hand items might be a bit of a weird thought. Paying for someone else’s junk? No way!

However, think about it this way: you’re getting someone else’s treasure. Yes – thrift shopping is indeed similar to treasure hunting. You come, not looking for anything in particular, and come out sometimes with nothing, but other times with rare items you wouldn’t find elsewhere.

To those new to the arts, here are two places to dip your feet in in the world of op-shopping:

Savers (various locations)

Savers is truly a god-send! When one walks into Savers, it is like walking to a massive Coles or Woolworths store, yet the items are all second-hand (and non-perishable goods). From all kinds of clothing, to books, homewares, accessories and even Halloween costumes, Savers has it all. It can be very overwhelming at first. After you get a hang of it though, it’s easy to spend an entire day at Savers, rummaging through every rack looking for those pieces that are meant to be yours. Shopping at Savers also equals to giving back to the community, as they support more than 100 non-profit organisations around the world. Kill two birds with one stone – why not?

Shops along Smith St, Fitzroy

For those looking for a more authentic shopping experience, casually head to Smith Street after your weekend brunch, and you will find clusters of small, privately-owned stores containing curated second-hand items. These items are usually handpicked to be resold by the owner of the shop, which equals to less rummaging for you and better-quality collection of items. However, the downside to this is that the price tag might be heaps heftier.

Aside from the locations mentioned above, there are so many other places you can venture to! Keep your eyes peeled, as sometimes vintage stores would also hold biannual sales – selling items for even cheaper prices than they already are. Now go forth and explore!

Texts: Rachel Melisa