Monday, 6 October 2008

Second-hand shopping

My favorite item of clothing would have to be a 60's dress brought from the second-hand market at university. While it has been many, many years since I was last able to squeeze into it, I still live it hope! (hahaha!!!)

That was my introduction to second-hand shopping, and with all the theme parties there was always an excuse to go scouting around the op shops in Melbourne. I never really got into it here, there was never the range or number of shops like at home, at least not in the early days.

Then I had kids. And with most of my friends having kids the same age or younger, and few around to pass on clothes, I have instead frequented the bi-annual second hand markets at the local schools.

A couple of weeks ago I decided it was time to change the direction of the flow and took 5 bags of clothes and shoes down to the market put on by the local school's parent association. This very organised and efficiently run operation is a popular event and a great opportunity to fight the crowds and grab some bargains.

While having a look around the mounds and mounds of clothes I managed to pick up a couple of things for the kids and avoid a whole lot of stuff we really don't need. But more than anything I really couldn't help contemplating how little worth 2nd hand items have. Who wouldn't pay 10kr (not 2 dollars) for this moose from Ikea - and it was in really good condition too!

This was further accentuated when I stood in the queue to pay, contemplating if I should spend my last kronor on a 15kr skirt or a 25kr skirt for Makaila. For the parents taking my money, the choice was clear, the 25kr skirt was overpriced! Personally I didn't care, the difference of 10kr (less than $2) wasn't what I was contemplating - a new one would have cost me about 100kr anyway. It reminded me of haggling over 10 cents in some poverty stricken country - what is the point?

At the end of the day I went back to collect any cash I had made and the remainder of my unsold items. Like many others I returned home with almost as many bags as I took. There must have been mounds and mounds of it left. It was the dirt cheap stuff that people were after. Still, I had unloaded a few things and earned over 600kr ($100) for my efforts, and that was after they took their 20% cut.

With all this fresh in my mind I was saddened to recently read in the paper what I already know, we consume clothes like candy. They are cheap, sweet and designed to satisfy our desire just at that moment. Fast fashion is a sign of the times.

But what happens to all that candy once we have chewed it up and spat it out again, as our hunt for something newer, sweeter & better continues? Suddenly my second-hand shopping feels like a worthy cause....

While the school markets are not going to do much for the value of second-hand items, the growth of all the second-hand shops around town will, especially if others follow leading designer Filippa K's example. And with fast fashion being the sales weapon used by the chains and department stores, lets hope there is a growth of conscious people who believe slow fashion is the only sustainable trend for the future. The point is; a perfectly good skirt should be worth 25kr!


  1. jag älskar myrorna!!!

    here in söder there are so many "specialised" second hand stores.. i.e. stores that sell only leather, or those that sell products from the 1950s only.. and so on... I agree.. a perfectly good, ahem, item should be worth 25kr only!

  2. wow - I do know of some of the second-hand places around but I'm not familiar with there being specialised ones - good to know and well and truly time to mosey on over and check out what's around. It's been a while and so much has happened on Söder in the last 10 years! Let's hope it spreads.