For as long as I can remember I’ve been an avid op-shopper but my first taste of pre-loved fashion market shopping was at Melbourne’s Round She Goes market in 2010. Having travelled from Tasmania to visit a fashion-savvy friend, I remember being astounded by the seemingly endless stalls of beautiful sartorial clutter – there was nothing like it in Hobart!
Fast-forward three-and-a-half years and the opportunity to start my own market, Overdressed, presented itself. The philosophy was simple – I wanted to create a space where frugal fashionistas could pick up bargains from stallholders whose closets could no longer accommodate all their great clothing.
Thanks to the enthusiasm of local stallholders and shoppers, the Overdressed Market has been running successfully as a quarterly fashion event ever since. I get such a thrill from being involved in all things pre-loved that earlier this year I purchased an existing clothing market in Launceston called My Closet Market.
Now, I don’t imagine anyone reading an article on this amazing website needs any convincing around the benefits of secondhand shopping – the feel-good sensation of doing your part to stop the “fast fashion” cycle of buy, use and throw away is hard to beat – but I thought I would share what led me to starting a pre-loved fashion market, and why I’m still so passionate about it today:
The thrill of the hunt
Unlike the meticulously displayed racks of retail-clone-clothing available in stores, secondhand stalls can usually be described as a gloriously ad-hoc representation of the seller’s collection. In some cases it looks like they’ve simply placed their floor-drobe on a table! What they lack in organisation though they make up for in the chance to dig deep and search for buried treasure. For me there is no beating this hunting and gathering, especially when you’re rewarded with a new favourite.
Photo: this black dress and (fake) fur stole are two of my ultimate finds from My Closet Market that I would never have uncovered without being prepared to use a little elbow grease.
Being inspired by the variety
Not everything you come across while digging through treasure troves will have a place in your wardrobe, but I’m always fascinated by the sheer variety of styles, fabrics, textures, colours and embellishments on offer. Even items that aren’t quite right could still inspire you to be creative with your current wardrobe – unlocking style possibilities you’d never thought of and breathing new life into old favourites.
Photo: I’ve never been one to wear sneakers and oversized jumpers (at least not out of the house), but when I found them in just the right shade of metallic silver at the Overdressed Market, I decided this look was for me.
Feeding the soul
Inspiration and treasure hunting aside, for me the most important reason to shop secondhand is buying clothes that have already had a life, clothes that have a soul. At pre-loved fashion markets you have the chance to make a connection with the person who owned your chosen bargain – why they bought it, when and where they wore it, and (sometimes heartbreakingly) why they have decided to part with it. It’s clothing karma as its most profound.
Some of my most beloved clothes have belonged to friends and I think of them warmly every time I open my closet and they catch my eye. It’s like having an ever-present reminder of how important they are and suggestion that maybe it’s time to catch up again soon.