Melbourne trip & some brilliant 2nd hand scores

So this post is a bit of a long time coming, but in April I had the pleasure of visiting Melbourne. There was no shortage of great 2nd hand shops. Instead of the big blowout I could have made, I ended up spending a pretty reasonable grand total of $128.98.

For this I got (second hand):

  • two jackets – the white one: $8.99
  • the blue one: $10
  • a cardigan: $7.99
  • a necklace: $35
  • boots: $67.

The necklace isn’t second hand but is vintage. I bought it from the local Melbourne Rose St market. The blue coat was from ‘Value City’ op shop near Preston. The white jacket and cardigan were from the Sallies in Carnegie. The boots were from a second hand shop in Portsea right on the beach front. My friends managed to find some excellent $1 belts from an op shop in Portsea. Score!

Also, if you happen to be in Melbourne, check out this blog for 2nd hand shopping  – Vintage Melbourne

50 cent wardrobe – inspiring stuff!

Just discovered a new blog through today though a friend and was so excited had to do a post about it.

Check out if you’re after some inspiration about what to do with old dresses.

Seriously talented. It makes me even more excited to do my sewing class in June.

6 months in – 15 hot tips for your ethical wardrobe

So I officially this thing started in October. But 6 months down the track what do I know? Here are some tips for making 2012 a perfect year to start to your own ethical wardrobe.

1. Evaluate your wardrobe and cull it. Then cull again. Be fearless. Never worn that dress but hold onto it for sentimental reasons? Recycle Boutique, Secondo, Ziggurat, Hunters & Collectors all take clothes to sell on your behalf in Wellington.

2. Beware of the *majority* of the high street. Yes, most of it is made and China (not that it’s always a bad thing) and no, you can’t find out the factory conditions/living wage etc because no one knows. In fact, most of the time when I ask those sorts of questions the shop keeper looks at me like I am an alien. Fair enough. There are however great deals to be had in 2nd hand/vintage/boutique shops that stock NZ made. ‘Made in Australia’ shops such as CUE are ethical and so are brands such as Icebreaker, so give them a shot too.

3. The web is your friend. The purchase of a fair trade/ethical item is a click of the button away. Google ‘fair trade’ and ‘organic clothing’ and a wide variety of options will come up. Buy 2nd hand online through Trade Me. Lots of lovely designer clothing/shoes on there for bargain prices. Etsy sells cute vintage or 2nd hand finds. Felt also sell similar hand made items.

4. Support the locals. Visit your local craft market. The Wellington markets on Saturday at Frank Kitts is fantastic and has some great jewellery/shoes/clothes.

5. I shall not buy things I don’t need. I cannot count how many times I used to make impulse buys because it was on sale/I was buying last minute for an event/I’m a girl and I like shopping. Planning your shopping sounds boring but soon it becomes second nature and you realise more and more what your style is and what you’re not likely to wear.

6. Use apps or directories of ethical purchases to save time. Browse the ‘Good guide‘ or other ethical shopping guides.

7. Go to a Big Shwop. You’ll be amazed at the variety of styles you can find there. I have had so many comments on the 3 items I swapped at the last Big Shwop.

8. Learn to make do. Sounds like something your granma might have said, but that cash you save could be going towards that trip overseas you dreamed about.

9. Ask questions. Enquire about where your stuff is made – don’t be shy. Even if they don’t know, you might have made them curious to find out more.

10. Make use of tailors. If you want your clothes to fit you perfectly then why not enlist in some help from a local tailor? I guarantee that the stuff that gets made to fit you perfectly will last you far longer and look even more fantastic than that Glassons dress that’s gone out of shape. I am in the process of getting a dress tailor made based on the Uniform Project’s LBD. Watch this space!

11. Accessorize. Yeah I know this is an obvious one, but the locally made necklace I bought from Craft 2.0 has had so many compliments. Having some great accessories is a great way to update your clothes instantly. Scarves, belts, jewellery and badges are easy buys that add an edge.

12. Only buy what you’re in love with. Back away from the glittery shoulder padded jersey if you’re not 110% in love with it.

13. Buy classics. When you do buy something a little bit more expensive make sure you’ll wear it with loads of different things. Tailored jackets/blazers, skirts, t shirts and good quality shoes have all been items I’ve worn over and over.

14. On May 1 go to for a directory of NZ made stuff.

Some NZ made labels I have found are: Kilt, Mondegreen, Starfish, Cybele, Sistahood, Thrive clothing, Tanya Carlson, Chalky Digits, Riddle me this,  Glowing SkyChristina Perriam, McKinlays shoes, Salisbury Boutique in Dunedin stocks NZ made, Minnie Cooper  makes gorgeous NZ made shoes, Out there clothing and Anna Krsinic.

15. Start small. It’s not about throwing out all unethical clothes/shoes that you already own. Maybe you’ll just buy some organic t’s and progress from there. Maybe you’ll buy less but better quality stuff. Once you get started you’ll be amazed at the money you save and the unique bargain finds.

The NZ vintage label with a name too rude to publish

I may be a little late to the party with this discovery. But at the beginning of the year I made an excellent dress purchase from ‘Smoove as F#*k‘. They retail at Hunters & Collectors on Cuba St in Wellington.

Smmove as F*ck vintage dress

They tailor old vintage dresses and modernise them making them flattering and unique. Brilliant idea and reasonably priced at $79. I’ve already had lots of comments on it!

Pre-loved gold sandals

Secondo and some pre-loved sandals

Now that summer has decided to pick up it’s game in Wellington, I thought it was time I invested in some new sandals. Enter, the wonderful ‘Secondo‘ on Tinakori road in Thorndon, Wellington.

There were so many cute pairs of shoes to choose from so no doubt I’ll go back again soon. For now though, I am the proud new owner of some funky gold ‘Made in Italy’ second hand sandals – only $50 on sale.

Visit Secondo on Tinakori Road, Wellington’s most elegant recycled clothing boutique. They have a fantastic range of quality clothes and shoes.

Pre-loved gold sandals Secondo packaging

fairfashionyear ensemble 01

Fairfashionyear clothes capsule image of skirt, singlet, necklace and shoes

Seeing what goes with what can make choosing what to wear in the mornings a bit easier. So I’m going to start doing fashion capsules as part of this blog to show how easy it can be to buy ethical and still look good!

1. singlet from Recycle Boutique
2. chunky necklace I’ve had for years (always keep accessories)
3. sandals also 2nd hand from Recycle Boutique
4. A-line skirt (been looking for one for ages that will go with everything) from Recycle Boutique.

Total cost: $61 (not including the necklace). Shazam a new outfit on the cheap.

Get thee to Recycle Boutique now if you’re after a bargain!

Why am I doing this? Great question

A very good friend of mine asked me recently ‘Why are you doing this?’ It’s a great question. I’ll explain – here’s part of what sparked this whole thing off.

Once upon a time, I was addicted to

Yes, I admit it – I was in lust with this site. I used to marvel at how cheap it all was. It was a definite bonus that they shipped free to NZ.  I was able to shop my favourite UK brands that I had loved while living in London.

So my first (and last) ASOS shipment was for a River Island pair of boots, ASOS brand brogues, and 2 jackets. These boots that were latest season were only 35 pounds which in NZD is roughly $70. Which is CHEAP for shoes here.

However, both jackets were not what I was expecting and the boots were uncomfortable. So while it all looked like a bargain, in reality I will probably end up taking it to Recycle Boutique or another second hand shop to sell on. Less than 6 months after buying them.

The more I looked at ASOS and the cheap deals of instant ‘fast-fashion’ the more I got thinking about the real price we pay.

World map of supply chain for River Island boots

Supply chain for River Island boots

Do you know the conditions in which your clothes/shoes are made?

That piece of clothing or pair of shoes that was made halfway around the world was most likely made by someone not getting a fair deal. Labour behind the label did a rating for UK brands and rated River Island (where my boots came from).  I don’t want to unfairly just pick on them though – there were brands rating worse than them. Find out how the other brands rated including Topshop, H&M and GAP.

We now own more clothes than ever before but spend less money on each item. We throw out clothes as soon as they are out of fashion or we are bored of them. In doing my fair fashion year I’ll be seeking out brands that have timeless style. The was a great inspiration. It shows how you can create timeless style from a little black dress and a ton of amazing accessories. I’ve been trying to get my hands on her classic LBD for a year!

So how can you start to shop ethically?

You can choose how you spend your money. When we part with our cash we are saying ‘I support this company/product’. Ask the person in the shop *nicely* where their products are made. It’s OK to want to know about the stuff that you’re about to spend your hard earned cash on.

Consumers can change the game. You only have to look at the uproar when Cadbury announced they would use palm oil to see how corporations bow to consumer pressure. Within weeks they had decided to stop using palm oil and hoped the public would forgive them.