In honour of National Op Shop Week I thought I'd share what got me into opshopping and why it's now my main source of clothing.
I've always been an opshopper; even in high school my friend and I would rummage through op shops on our weekends. Although we were mostly looking for costumes and dress ups, not everyday clothing. I was never one to dress 'cool'. In fact I dressed very much like a tomboy in high school. Did anyone else live through the "surf wear is cool" look in high school? I definitely did, but fortunately I spent most of my time in uniform, so pictures of me in surfwear are few and far between.
My love for op shopping continued throughout the years but again mostly for costumes with the occasional everyday find. It all changed when I moved to Seattle. I didn't know anyone and my social life was fairly non existent, but I discovered that the Goodwill near my house was open every night until 9pm. For someone with few friends, this was perfect. I'd spend hours at Goodwill, searching through clothes, hats, shoes and even the furniture. And I bought up. Every Goodwill trip I returned home with something. I was so impressed with what you could find.
I challenged myself a few months later to only buying second hand, and again I was surprised how much you could find. Even on our 2 month roadtrip through the US last year (at this point in the story I have a US boyfriend), I found it so thrilling to visit thrift stores in different cities. And once again came out with the goods.
On returning to Australia I wasn't sure if I could continue my thrift store habits but have I been proved wrong. Melbourne has some of the best op shops going around, and the community of thrifters I've met along the way also tells me there are plenty of great finds throughout the whole country.
I've also become much more socially conscious of how my love for fashion contributes to the destruction of the environment and the world. I'm much more aware of what I can do as an individual to try to change the industry.
Earlier this year I watched True Cost, if you haven't yet seen it I highly recommend it. It might even change the way you look at the fashion industry, it sure did for me. As consumers, I think it's important to understand where our clothing comes from, where is it made, who makes it, how those that make our clothes are treated, and what we can do about it. The fashion industry has changed vastly in the last 10 years and fast fashion is one of the major contributors. If I do buy anything new, I make sure I know where it comes from and I avoid fast, cheap fashion.
Remember it starts with ourselves. The power is in the consumer.
Op shopping doesnt just help the environment and our international neighbours, you're also supporting local community charities, and don't forget it's very easy on the wallet!
What have your experiences been? Have you been inspired to try thrifting for yourself?