SWAPPING, NOT SHOPPING

Today we’ve got a guest piece from the fast-fashion-focussed Brooke Wedgwood. As usual, all views and opinions are her own, but they’re pretty valid. Enjoy!

Shit You Should Care About… Swapping, not shopping.

In today’s society, the ever-growing trend of keeping in touch with the new IT fashion items is becoming all too consuming.

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It seems that we have completely forgotten about the many Op-shops sprawled across town just waiting to be rummaged through - by people of all ages and fashion styles.

Fast fashion:

So you may ask, what is fast fashion and am I wearing it?

Fast fashion came about after the industrial revolution when new technology was introduced, making it easy for fast-fashion retailers to take styles from the fashion powerhouses and reproduce them at a scarily quick rate. As online shopping became easier and prices got cheaper, people became ‘sucked in’ by the “fast fashion” trend to keep up.

However, people fail to acknowledge the huge impact this “throw-away” culture is having on the planet, not only to the workers but the environment too.

This culture that is enveloping our world encourages us to shop more in order to stay up with the trends and satisfy our needs (and wants!), rather than looking to shops and organisations that are focussed on recyclable fashion.

Combat “throwaway culture” by Op-Shopping!

Op-shops are a place where one can occupy a whole day. You can find anything from vintage, all the way through to last season’s Ralph Lauren. They offer a place to find a new statement wardrobe piece, but also somewhere to hand-on your own items that have served you well, to be passed on to the next loving owner - and that’s the beauty of Op-shops. Not only could you donating clothes to help various charities, but you’re also helping eliminate the production of more clothes made by under-paid workers with cheap unsustainable textiles.

Copenhagen Fashion Summit reports that fashion is responsible for 92 million tons of solid waste dumped in landfills each year!

This makes it even more important to recycle rather than buying more.

Now that you’re obviously going to be hitting up the Op-Shops, here are the top-picks you should look out for this winter:

  1. A good base-layer top: You can never go wrong with a good Merino to make anything that little bit warmer, with most thermals priced around $1-$5 at an Op-Shop. It is so much more satisfying to snap up a top-condition Kathmandu number for $3 rather than spending $60 on a brand-new item which will likely not fit you next winter.

  2. Statement pants: If you’ve ever wandered round an Op-shop, you’ll know what I mean when I say ‘you can find some weird and wonderful patterned pants’. I encourage you to give all pants a go, whether they look like the perfect fit or not - sometimes the best pants are those that are that little bit bigger and have that extra give.

  3. A vintage Jersey: Vintage-style jerseys are hard to come by, but when you find one you know you will be hanging on to it for years. Once again, don’t forget to look in both the men’s and women’s sections, as both provide a good varied range.

  4. Basic T: The men’s section is the first place to look when you are after a relaxed fit t-shirt, usually with a faded screen-print on the front. This section offers the biggest range of styles and colours, and you’ll always come away with at least one gem.

  5. Sports Gear: Now before you turn up your noses at the thought, at least give it a go. Think about the hundreds of people that have gone through their health kick phase and purchased all this high-end sportswear, only to give it up two weeks in. Yes, that’s the sportswear I’m talking about - you’ll find in almost every Op-shop.


Less than 1% of the material used to produce clothing globally is recycled into new clothing, so it is essential that you think before purchasing that special dress for a one-off occasion .

As Vivienne Westwood said, “Buy less, choose well, make it last”.