ABOVE: One of a Kind (formerly Lifeline) store manager Mary Ritchie with volunteer Pru Knight catering to the community members looking for pre-loved clothes.
National Op Shop Week is now on, from Sunday, August 23- 30.
The campaign slogan for Op Shop week is ‘Op Till You Drop!’.
The start of spring on September 1 is the most popular time of year for women to clear out their wardrobes. Nearly a quarter of women sort and de-clutter during September.
Now in its third year, the Op Shop Week event promoters are asking people to donate good quality clothing to their local charity op shop.
National Op Shop Week is an initiative of the Do Something charity and is run in association with NACRO, the National Association for Charitable Recycling Organisations.
Funds raised by Op Shops - St Vincent de Paul, the Salvation Army and Red Cross, like the clothes they sell, are recycled back to those in need.
With three second hand clothing stores in town the community is enjoying a growing selection of ‘pre loved’ and vintage items.
Captain Alice Keast, of the Narrabri Salvation Army branch, has been working in Salvation Army family stores for the past nine years and has noticed the increase in customers.
“There is certainly the whole vintage trend going on at the moment, but a lot of people are also realising it’s important to limit wastage and by coming here they feel like they’re doing their bit to achieve that,” she explained.
“At least 60% of our customers are coming here out of necessity, and the rest are either shopping with a conscience or looking specifically for vintage clothes. That number of people has grown substantially in the last few years, particularly on the environmental side of it.”
The op shops provide a needed service for people looking for low cost clothes.
The store manage at St Vincent de Paul, Marie Keys, agrees that second hand clothing stores play an important role in the community, but says many people are yet to realise the advantages of ethical shopping.
“If people knew the quality of the items we have here, people would shop here more” she said.
“It is also a great service for people who are in need.
“Last Christmas we handed our 50 hampers and gave out vouchers, so we do a lot of great work without much publicity.”
St Vincent de Paul has a long history in Narrabri, but new charity clothing stores are alsoappearing in town.
The One of a Kind store, formerly known as Lifeline, has been operating for the last six years.
Store Manager Mary Ritchie says demand is increasing.
“Our trade is picking up, we do have some ethical shoppers who are concerned about the environment, reducing landfill and reducing the resource inputs such as water for fibre growing,” she said.
“There are people who need cheap clothing but second hand shops shouldn’t be seen as purely for those who are in need, but it’s also for those who are looking for something a bit different.”