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Have $12.50? Ipswich store sells fashion for peanuts

POPPIN' tags with $20 in your pocket will leave some change.

About $14 change to be exact as the art of op-shopping, thrifting, goodwill, bargain hunting and all its other definitions is making its rise to retail reality.

Moccasins that somebody else has been walking in, racks lined with one-offs, retro and vintage pieces and the odd hidden gem are re-defining fashion.

One man's trash is most definitely another man's one-up as national and international designer pieces hang on plastic hangers hidden deep between rows of chain store pieces, waiting for their new owner to re-invent them.

Choose a full outfit, add a bag and throw some shoes in the basket too for no more than $16.

Op-shopping has its financial incentives but the thousands of pre-loved items cleaned, sorted and neatly presented by an army of volunteers mean fast fashion is having an eco-conscious, recycled face lift.

As global consumers churn through 80 billion pieces of clothing each year, up 400% from two decades ago, thrifting is the ideal alternative to cookie-cutter fashion.

Ben Wilmott and Therese Jones model clothing from the St Pauls Variety Store.
Ben Wilmott and Therese Jones model clothing from the St Pauls Variety Store. Rob Williams

 

St Paul's Variety Market manager and church parishioner Elaine Drennan is part of the process which sees the community changing up their look with a few loose coins.

She said a new outfit was sometimes enough to change somebodies life.

"I had a gentleman who had to go to a funeral and had hardly any money and we just decked him out and let him go. I felt really good about that, I don't think he had anybody else to help him," she said.

"We have a lot of people who can't afford the prices you pay in a shop and they become our regular customers. That's another reason we all love being here, we're helping people who really can't afford anything else and that way they can have nice clothes.

Ben Wilmott and Therese Jones model clothing from the St Pauls Variety Store.
Ben Wilmott and Therese Jones model clothing from the St Pauls Variety Store. Rob Williams

 

"It's lots of fun because everyone is here because they love being here, we have it to heart."

Elaine has spent the last seven years decking out Ipswich with vintage and retro pieces.

She said she had seen everything from real fur, jewellery and ball gowns to underwear and costumes snapped up for next to nothing.

"There is always something unusual and interesting," she said.

Ben Wilmott and Therese Jones model clothing from the St Pauls Variety Store.
Ben Wilmott and Therese Jones model clothing from the St Pauls Variety Store. Rob Williams

 

"You wouldn't even know you're wearing second hand, quite a few things come in and they still have the tag on them. It's brand new and they'll go out for a pittance, nothing like a $150 frock.

"We've had ladies buy ball gowns and go to the really fancy dances, wedding guests, people looking for a costume to wear on a Saturday night.

"You can buy a man's suit for $6."

Cryil Wheeler, Elaine Drennan, Helen Wheeler and Kerry Walker work at the St Pauls Varierty Market.
Cryil Wheeler, Elaine Drennan, Helen Wheeler and Kerry Walker work at the St Pauls Varierty Market. Rob Williams

Topics:  op shop



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