Saturday, December 9, 2023

Quirky op shop donations: Vintage fashion, artwork and pre-loved sex toys

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Sara Smith models a vintage outfit at the Dannevirke Community op shop. Photo / Michaela Gower

The Dannevirke Community Op Shop has something for everyone at bargain prices, from collectables to, kitchenware, clothing across the eras, and it even had a boudoir book on its shelves once.

Yet as the rise of absurd trends increasingly found in luxury fashion take hold, Dannevirke’s second-hand shops are embracing vintage and retro style, making it cool and affordable.

The people of Dannevirke and those passing through are spoilt for choice when they visit the Dannevirke Community Op shops and hidden in the $3 racks of clothing are often some surprising items.

Community Op Shop owner Nicola Fryer said the items donated quite often reflect the older homes and places in town, so are a real treasure trove of stylish items with great potential.


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“We notice the vintage and retro rack seems to take a hammering,” she said.

She said that anything from bomber jackets to clothing that features distinctive fabrics of the 60s, 70s, 80s, seem to be popular at the moment.

Sara Smith with some of the range of second-hand clothing on offer. Photo / Michaela Gower
Sara Smith with some of the range of second-hand clothing on offer. Photo / Michaela Gower

Fryer said it’s not all about being trendy. She wants to ensure people have access to the essentials and help those who are feeling the pinch of the cost of living crisis.

“We have incredibly wealthy people who come and op shop because they like the look of the vintage and retro and others who are coming in to satisfy their basic needs. I wouldn’t say we have any one demographic that shops with us,” she said.


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The stores have every item a home or person could need, with an extensive selection of kitchenware, linen, books, artwork, furniture, and even a few collectables.

“Crown Lynn has been huge over the last eight months and you just couldn’t get enough of it but now it’s getting harder to sell,” she said.

She said there had been some rather strange items through the doors including a community member’s homemade boudoir book that was donated – and then enthusiastically purchased by another customer.

Fryer said nothing surprises the ladies at the op shop – they had seen it all and always enjoyed going through bags and boxes of donated goods.

Nothing would beat the time they found pre-loved adult toys in a bag of donated goods though, Fryer said.

“When you tip it out and find something like that it causes a little bit of hilarity and chaos within the sorting crew and everyone has a giggle and a joke and then we put it in the bin,” she said.

She said kitchenware and men’s clothing were underutilised, and hoped that more people would move away from first-hand purchases and into cost-effective second-hand purchases.

“You might be able to find an old-fashioned dinner set and pay $30 whereas people are still looking to go to Kmart or The Warehouse and pay $50 for a new one,” she said.

Fryer said op shopping was a great way to fight consumerism, but acknowledged without first-hand purchases the business of second-hand shopping wouldn’t thrive.

Michaela Gower joined Hawke’s Bay Today in 2023 and is based in the Hastings newsroom. She covers Dannevirke and Hawke’s Bay news and has a love for sharing stories about farming and rural communities.


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