Brody’s Banter: Op shop hunting, sustainable shopping, and why I can’t get enough

Brody here! Welcome to the first edition of ‘Brody’s Banter’. A series of thoughts I have on some sustainability-focused issues. First up, I’ll shed some light on one of my favorite hobbies. Op shopping.

It could be the fact that there were 5 op shops within a square kilometer of my house. It could be because I work with a lady who is extremely waste conscious (You might know of her). It could just be because I have an obsession for clothing, without the wallet to match. I think it is most likely a mixture of all of the above, but for whatever reason…

I can’t get enough of op shops and the vintage and second-hand clothing hiding within them.

Photo by Artem Beliaikin @belart84 from Pexels

From a fashion standpoint, I just think a lot of the stuff really suits me. There is washed-out tee shirts, oversized sportswear, high-end menswear with that retro style, and much more that is just waiting to be snapped up for usually at least 90% under their retail prices.

I’ve become a bit of a clothing nerd, and there is nothing that excites me more than finding something that could be a gem, checking if there are no major flaws or stains, and then working out if I will fit it. If all three boxes are ticked, soon followed is a shot of endorphins equivalent to that felt by the pirates of the seven-seas or whatever they call it.

It has gotten to the point where I’m not just shopping for myself, I have a mental note in my head of all my friends and family and what styles and looks they would suit, forever picking out items for them, then I take them around to their place like a vacuum salesman in the early 2000’s. “I saw this and instantly thought of how good it would look on you”, “Now… I know you’re going to dig this”. So far, I have a rather impressive strike rate, with most people extremely grateful of the little gem they received from the guy with an obsession for old gear.

Photo by mentatdgt from Pexels

With all this being said, I believe there is a serious lesson to be learned from my endeavors. Now I know I’m not the first person to do all of the above, and I will certainly not be the last. But it is key to look beyond my over-enthusiasm and note that it is a habit that we should all embrace a little bit more. Kate often says that if we all made a small change in our habits and everyday lives then a huge amount of small little things would change. When you do the math, you realize that this statement carries a large amount of merit. I’m not expecting everyone to go out and dig through the musty droves and hospice shops NZ over, but we all can take a step back out of our precious bubble and realize that material has to come from somewhere and that everything we re-purpose or re-use is doing the world a little favor, as it’s a break from our constant mining, digging, cutting, and consumption of its resources.

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If you approach it from a mindset like “Buying these 1980’s Made in NZ pair of Levi’s (that look exactly like the jeans I wanted to buy from Hallensteins last week), will save me supporting the use of extra cotton, water, dye, metal hardware etc that it took to create that new pair, and now I’m doubling the efficiency of the resources used to create this original pair”, you will really start to feel satisfied and like you are helping out.

… everything we re-purpose or re-use is doing the world a little favor, as it’s a break from our constant mining, digging, cutting, and consumption of its resources.

There’s also the amazing feeling when you think back on how much money you have spent at the many secondhand stores over the years because the majority of this money is going straight to some amazing causes. So, take my challenge, next time you’re craving some retail therapy, or have a clothing item that you need, consider an op shop before heading to your favorite fast-fashion store!

So thanks for checking out this blog and the first edition of Brody’s Banter, I’ll be popping some thoughts up when I get the time, or whenever something particularly interesting comes to mind. So get out there guys, get hunting! I’d love to see what you find. And just a reminder, Kate’s workshops are a great option for anyone to become inspired on waste, the planet, and conscious consumerism, they’re not just for mums or parents. I’m a 22 year old bloke and I’d recommend them to everyone! Check out this list of upcoming workshops if you haven’t come along yet.


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