Charity shops and Op Shoppers all over Australia are combining forces to celebrate their very own week of National Op Shop Week, from the 27th of August to the 2nd of September.
Eco stylist and Op Shop to Runway owner, Alex Van Os said this week is here to spread the positive message of thrifting
“It is to showcase the incredible pieces that you can find in store and educating about the importance of providing new life to items which would be destined to landfill, all while the dollars spent are helping people in times of need.”
Miss Van Os has been a stylist for over seven years and has since redirected her business to being an eco stylist, making thrifting an important part of her job.
“From styling, shopping, being a Red Cross ambassador and an environmentally conscious consumer; it ticks all the boxes and is my creative haven. You never know what you are going to find, and it allows the quirky pieces to speak for themselves! When I shop at op shops I find one of a kind pieces that allow me to make my own unique style as I am not dictated by brands or trends as to what I ‘should’ be wearing.
“Through my business Op Shop to Runway I am able to inspire, educate and encourage people to shop sustainably by changing peoples’ perceptions and to help them understand that killer style doesn’t have to cost the earth.” She said.
National Op Shop Week also helps to educate consumers on fashion waste, by building awareness for Australian’s overconsumption.
The ABC reported on average Australians buy 27 kilograms of new clothing and other textiles each year and are the world’s second largest consumers of textiles.
Salvation Army Marketing Manager Aife O’Loughlin said the war on waste is making a positive impact on their charitable retailer.
“We are lucky in the salvos stores that we don’t align with normal retail trends so we have sat at a growth rate slightly higher than on average with the industry… It says a lot about the Australian consumer that they are savvy, they are thrifty and they like to shop a bit more sustainably.”
Ms O’Loughlin said shopping with charitable retailers is also a way to give back to the community.
“You’re creating a social impact, you know that when you make a purchase to us your helping people who are suffering from domestic violence, who are experiencing homelessness or have alcohol addiction and so many more programs. You’re making a real difference in the community.”
Op Shop enthusiast Laura Morley has built her social media account around her dedication to thrifting and believes the experience begins with good donations.
“Having worked at an op shop, I’ve seen the quality of donations that come into the store and to be honest, they’re not always that flash. Supporting an op shop and making more sustainable choices isn’t always “donate, donate, donate”.
It’s about donating responsibly, if an item is damaged or soiled to the point where you won’t wear it anymore, then donating it won’t fix the problem, it’ll just add a middleman before that item is sent to landfill.” She Said.
Miss Morley is supporting National Op Shop Week by donating and shopping. “I have a huge bag of clothes, washed and in great condition ready for donation this week… I’ll be on @opshopgal all week posting up pictures of my outfits, harping on about the many merits of op-shopping, filling the world in on where I got my best bargains and encouraging everyone else to do the same. All you have to do is visit an op shop!”
Miss Van Os is also supporting this week through styling and her business, “this year I styled Craig Reucassel who is the Ambassador of NOSW in all garments from the Australian Red Cross for a photoshoot and I am holding my Group Op Shopping Tour.”
Miss O’Loughlin said consumers can support this week, by visiting one of their stores, “we encourage people to come in store, have a look around, give op shopping a go and give it a try because you never know what you might find you get some really great stuff at a really great price at salvo stores.”