I recently went to the very first ‘Fashionably Numb’ event put together by Kelli from sustainable Canberra label Pure Pod. It was great to see this kind of focus on sustainable fashion in Canberra!
The event was made up of an ethical fashion market followed by a panel discussion on sustainable fashion and the impact of ‘fast fashion’ with Kelli Donovan from Pure Pod, Melinda Tually from Fashion Revolution Australia and New Zealand, Jennifer Nini from Eco Warrior Princess, Faye De Lanty from Salvos Stores, Rachel Pines from Moonbird and Brian Tunks from Bison Home.
I took lots of notes during the panel discussion (something that local MLA Shane Rattenbury commented on afterwards!) but the biggest thing I took away from the night was the importance of op shopping, so I thought I would share some things that I learned during the discussion.
I’d already been a big fan of Jennifer Nini from Eco Warrior Princess (and fangirled a little over her when I met her) but this was my first time being exposed to the work of Faye De Lanty, who is a stylist working for Salvos Stores and is passionate about styling pre-loved clothes and making op shops a fashion destination. I was so inspired by her that the next day I went to a Canberra op shop to score myself a dress for Christmas party season!
I already knew that buying second-hand clothes was better from a sustainability perspective but Faye really inspired me to make pre-loved (a far lovelier term than second-hand, don’t you think?) a priority when it comes to purchasing ‘new’ clothes.
She wants to change the perception of op shops as places for costumes and show how they can be a true fashion destination where you can curate ‘fashion’ from pre-loved. Every year Salvos Stores divert around 30,000 tonnes of clothing from landfill, which is pretty amazing when you consider that only 15% of what is donated can be sold in stores (due to quality of clothing donated). Even more amazing when you think that this is just one store of many that accepts donations of pre-loved clothing.
Faye advocates for using fashion as inspiration but avoiding ‘fast fashion’ by shopping your own wardrobe first and then shopping pre-loved. If you find some fast fashion items that don’t necessarily seem desirable at first glance, try to look beyond that to see the potential in things.
She also encourages responsible op shopping. ‘Fast’ op shopping has become more of a thing as people refresh their wardrobes overly frequently, just from op shops rather than other retail stores. You should treat op shopping like a normal shopping experience. Be discerning and only buy what you need.
To help yourself be more discerning, ask yourself the following questions when you’re shopping:
- Do I need it?
- Will I love it?
- Will I wear it?
- Can I reinvent something I already have?
I really loved going to this event (and I’m already looking forward to seeing how it grows next year) and I hope I’ve inspired you to try some op shopping sometime soon, just like Faye inspired me!
Do you go op shopping regularly? Do you have any op shopping advice or tips?