Thanks Sunday Mail for op shopping on our behalf

Nikki Parkinson Fashion 1 Comment

I’ve been meaning to post about this fantastic feature from Sunday’s Sunday Mail (March 28, 2010). The gist of the story is that op shops have gone upmarket and that you no longer have to sieve through a lot of treasure to find a relatively new (sometimes still tagged!) bargain. Thanks to reporter Kathleen Donaghey for doing all the leg work for would-be op-fashionistas.  My only concern:  the secret is well and truly out on where to find the best pieces … will there be any left? 

… from the Sunday Mail

HUMBLE op shops have had a stylish makeover and launched a retail assault on upmarket clothing outlets, stocking new designer clothes, shoes and accessories to complement their secondhand range.

In a battle for the fashion-conscious customer, Endeavour Foundation, Red Cross and Lifeline are leading the way, selling last season’s labels worth hundreds of dollars for a quarter of the price.

Charity “boutiques” stocked only with new clothes and accessories are also opening in upmarket shopping districts to rival mainstream stores.

Others are branching into homewares, offering latest-season cushions, rugs and handcrafted Balinese ornaments from the same suppliers as Melbourne and Sydney boutiques.

The shift in focus comes as charity organisations seek to differentiate themselves in the competitive op shop market and appeal to a broader set of customers.

Aided by the explosion in cheap overseas manufacturing they can buy new products to compensate for the poor quality of some secondhand clothes.

Others are reaping the benefits of the recent economic slowdown, with boutiques donating unsold stock. In some cases, corporate donors can claim tax breaks.

With the abundance of new treasures mixing on the shelves with secondhand staples, op-shopping has turned into a treasure hunt expedition.

Regular op-shoppers now race to their favourite stores on delivery day to pick up $300 Sportsgirl dresses for $39.95 and Pierre Fontaine diamante strap heels for $16.95.  MORE

Love to hear your thoughts.  What’s the best op shop bargain you’ve ever stumbled across?  What and where is your favourite op shop? Leave your comment below.

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