Finding treasure

Saturday was a stinker.

We sought refuge in a charity shop along Moruya’s main drag. While the chill air enveloped us we perused the racks for men’s trousers. Big enough for a man who used to be a big fire fighter.

In charity shops, the clothes are normally squeezed so tightly together they can hardly breathe. If lucky they will be re-purchased and experience another life.

Many end up shredded to rags or sent overseas to poorer countries. It seems a pity for the young hands who labored over them. Many of them women.

Our search was proving fruitless. But amongst the women’s racks I found an unusual dress.

It was sleeveless in chocolate cotton, with a cross over bodice (with some stud detail) and skirt with a varying hemline. The label in bold uppercase proclaimed ‘DIDIER PARAKIAN designed in France’. Although I’d never heard of Didier I thought it might be something special.

I tried it on in the change room and the ex-firie assisted with the zipper. The dress felt tight but I rationalized I could drop a few kilos or rework the garment.

The dress cost me $4.00 – less than the price of a cup of coffee. And we found a tailored pair of trousers for the big fella. Also $4.00.

Charity shops are full of fast fashion – clothes bought on a whim that are poorly made and match the season’s trend.

According to Ecowatch, the fast fashion industry is the second most polluting in the world. Second only to oil.

In a recent video, SBS says Australians are buying three times the clothes we did 20 years ago and spending on average $900 per person.

Last year I spent $735 on clothes and shoes.

I purchased a pair of leather Redback boots (to replace an old loved pair) and black leather shoes for the office. $200 gone.

47% of my clothes purchases were either from the pre-loved designer retailer, Material Pleasures in Fyshwick or my local St Vincent de Paul store. This year, I will spend much less as I’m buying nothing new.

Next time you are tempted to buy a new clothing, consider its quality and origin. If it’s cheaply made and on-trend (think lacey bits at the moment) and made of synthetic, walk away.

Visit a local op shop to find a pearl among the oysters.





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