Are Op Shops Serving Those Who Need Them The Most?

Thrift stores are no longer affordable

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Op shops are all the rage at the moment, thanks to growing interest in sustainable fashion.   

Sustainability is the new black, and the younger generation has shown an increasing interest and demand for second-hand fashion. In Sydney alone, there are more than 100 op shops across the city.   

However, despite various stores to choose from, most of them have jacked up their prices due to high demands.   

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Bargain hunters have taken to social media to complain, with some claiming that these charity shops are forgetting their causes.  

Are these stores now unaffordable for our most vulnerable? Why is there a massive price rise? Where are the places we can go and bag the best bargains?  

In today’s episode of THIS ARVO IN SYDNEY, host Sacha Barbour Gatt spoke with LiSTNR news journalist Loren Howarth about the no-longer-affordable prices in charity shops and the reason behind these expensive price tags.   

Haworth had interviewed Isabella, a re-seller who started her thrifting journey a few years ago, and she said the second-hand market had completely changed.   

“When I first started, I don’t think thrifting was very trending. I think that because of social media like TikTok, it’s become mainstream. It’s not as scary as it used to be, instead, a cool thing to do,” Isabella said.  

CEO of Charitable Recycling Australia, Omer Soker, said that charity shops have responded accordingly to the increasing demands.  

“The second-hand economy is booming. I think one of the biggest drivers of new customers into charity shops are younger customers, eager to shop sustainably and discover vintage fashion finds,” he said.  

What is simultaneously apparent is that there still exists a need for stores like these  to function as charitable enterprises.   

Also appearing on the podcast was Vinnies NSW, Director of Retail and Logistics, Phil Coytes who said: “Just in January this year there were more than 7700 interviews with people seeking assistance with just short of 6000 people needing to seek repeat assistance, in just one month.”

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Caitlin Duan

28 March 2023

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Caitlin Duan

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