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Loving pre-loved clothing

I love vintage and pre-loved clothing. Clothes that are durable and timeless appeal to me far more than the mass-produced disposable clothes of today.

Durability aside, favouring pre-loved is an easy way to minimise the negative environmental and social impacts of my wardrobe.

From wastewater emissions to air pollution and energy consumption, the textile industry weighs heavily on the environment. There are also the social impacts to consider, with child labour and sweat shops sadly still being one of the key ingredients in cheap fashion and those bargain 2 for 1 specials.

Buying pre-loved is a bit like treasure hunting.

I pop into op shops regularly and quickly browse through the clothes. I have a mental note of what I’m looking for and more often than not leave empty handed. But sometimes I strike gold and discover something I need and love.

The op shops I frequent today are far nicer than the ones I visited in my teens. These days they are typically tidy, uncluttered and the clothes are sorted into sizes or colour coded. A handful of friendly old ladies who like to chat usually staff the counter which adds to their appeal.

But I know there are many people who can’t bear to sort through racks of unappealing clothes to find that one rare treasure and who wouldn’t be seen dead in an op shop.

Thankfully sorting through an op-shop rack isn’t the only way to score a vintage find.

Boutique style vintage stores are popping up everywhere and online options for buying pre-loved clothing are rapidly growing, particularly for kids clothes. There’s a suite of online stores dedicated to selling pre-loved clothing that is usually in as-new condition including designer labels. Clothes swaps and pre-loved clothing markets are also on the rise.


Here in the Hunter we are lucky enough to have a regular pre-loved recycled fashion event – Raid My Wardrobe. Now in its third year, Raid My Wardrobe is a vintage and pre-loved clothing feast where 45 stall holders’ clear out the contents of their wardrobes and shoppers have a chance to buy preloved designer fashion and quality vintage at bargain prices. The next raid is next weekend Sunday 2nd June 10am – 1pm at the Newcastle Basket stadium, Broadmeadow. More information at

{originally published in the Newcastle Herald 25 May 2013}