When we’re thinking about ethical fashion habits, there’s no better place to start than with a galavant around our city’s rather fabulous selection of op shops… shall we?
We’re going to start out at Heaven Sent because Nancy (pictured here) is undoubtedly the matriarch of our local op shopping scene. Those of us who have been around long enough might remember Nancy from old days of yore when she managed the Bojumbles store on Gladstone Road.
Heaven Sent is about as old school as it gets. No fixed hours, no electricity, no eftpos. But try your luck around lunchtime weekdays or a Saturday, and you might just be rewarded with some gold. New stuff is shipped from Auckland regularly and original vintage items are often in the mix.
If we’re heading uptown from there, we’ll next hit the Hospice. The Hospice is an all-rounder, with high quality clothes, books, crafty bits and kitchenware all organised in a very orderly manner. The clothes are rotated on a seasonal basis, so sharp op shoppers will be ready to pounce at the start of the new season, and if you keep an eye out for the end of season sales you’ll be in for some bargains.
Red Cross is the next stop, on Gladstone Road. Clothing here is very tidy and of a uniformly good condition. There are often new items in the mix too from brands that know better than to dump their unsold stock.
Skip a block and cross the road and you’re at the Salvation Army, known affectionately in our family as 'The Salami’. Join the regulars for a sing along to whatever is spinning dustily on the record player and browse to your heart’s content. If colour-themed arrangements of clothing and objects makes your heart happy, this is the op shop for you! Free books pile outside, we’re all winning.
SPCA is just a hop, skip and a jump away, and is the place to go for those of us who get overwhelmed by too much selection. Another spot for uniformly tidy and less used clothes, and there are usually a few plants in the mix.
Now for a bit of a walk before you reach the Salvation Army Furniture store, which might not stock clothes, but does provide an ethical alternative to K-Mart furniture (which is going to start looking shabby and probably fall apart within the year, but that’s another conversation…)
Habitat for Humanity just next door. This is one of those mega stores, so make sure you’re fueled up before you hit it. There’s often some interesting furniture, and always lots of kitchenware, blankets, curtains, and crafty things. Clothes? There are heaps of clothes, also colour coded, and shoes. There are often $5 dollar fill a bag scenarios.
And last but not least, if you’re in the market for a new frock, and have one or two that you’re ready to let go of, bundle them up and head into the Tairāwhiti Environment Centre for a browse of their Frock Swap rack. Golden.
Stayed tuned for more local gems, coming soon!