Sunday, November 08, 2009


When I was a teenager I could go to the Art Gallery and identify the art students. They were the people who had taken something from an op shop and made it funky. Now when I go to the art gallery, everyone can afford a five dollar t shirt and everyone looks pretty much the same.

It's sad. Now that clothes are cheap we've lost that creativity born of necessity. Our fashion trends used to come from students finding what was in plentiful supply from charity shops and turning it into a statement. Petticoats worn with docs, for example. Then the look would catch on and designers would make new versions of the look.

I remember when recession wear was in. It started with people making a statement out of wearing old, ripped clothes. My friend and I went to a shop in the Strand Arcade and copied a design for a recession wear dress that cost a hundred dollars. That was a lot of money to a Year 12 student in 1983. I made my own clothes when I was a teenager, but now I don't because it isn't cheaper. The fabric often costs more than it is worth when I could buy something cheaper. And there are a lot of cheap clothes around. Cheap for us, so cheap that some people consider them disposable. But expensive for the earth. Nothing is disposable for the earth.

Every $100 worth of clothing produces 70kg of greenhouse gas emissions. Everything we buy new is made with the earth's resources, creates pollution by being made, dyed, packaged, stored, transported. I think we could stop manufacturing clothes for a few years and catch up with the supply already in the op shops, which are bulging with more interesting garments, and let the earth have a breather.

That's why I love renovated fashion and The Uniform Project Check out the doilie collars!

I'm only buying second clothes now. Except for basics like underwear, of course. I find it depressing to walk into clothes stores - most of the colours and styles are not flattering to me. Whatever is fashionable, I've already bought from an op shop. I find it exciting to walk into an op shop and go exploring. I must say it helps if you know what suits you (I'm a short, hourglass Winter). Instead of spending money on new cheap clothes, I recommend spending money on having a consultant tell you what colours and styles suit you. It will make op shopping much easier and you'll always look great.

Lets share our op shop finds. I'll grab a camera and post photos of my favourites.

No comments: