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Op shops are facing increasing demand

Emily O'Hagan
Joshua Brosnohan
Owner of Booteek  Emily O'Hagan

Teenagers in New Zealand are discovering the positives of op-shopping and are throwing away fast fashion.

More and more op shops have opened around Christchurch, many taking on a boutique style. 

Booteek is a second-hand clothing and accessory store in the Christchurch CBD. It’s a hybrid business, driven largely by sustainability and accessibility.

Owner of Booteek, Joshua Brosnahan, believes op-shopping is important for reducing what is already produced in terms of apparel.

He says apparel takes up about a third in terms of waste in the world so it’s important to use what we already have.

“I just really want to stress that so much already exists in terms of apparel and op-shopping is more sustainable and a unique way to shop.”

Outside of Booteek
Outside of Booteek Emily O'Hagan

According to the BBC, globally only 12 percent of clothing material ends up being recycled with the rest being thrown away. 

The waste isn’t the only issue with fast fashion but also the effect it has on the environment, the BBC reporting the fashion industry is responsible for 10 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions. 

Jasmine Irving, a customer at Booteek, says op shops are a great source of clothing during the current economic crisis as they are more accessible and affordable compared to brand new clothing.

She says it’s especially good for students who are on a budget price and activity-wise. 

“It’s something you could spend a whole day doing and you only spend 20 bucks, maybe even less, but you’ve got something to do which is really cool."

Inside booteek
Inside Booteek Emily O'Hagan

Brosnahan sees a trend of young people aged between mid-teens to early 20’s coming through his store.  

He believes op-shopping has always been around but people are starting to see the magic in it. 

Jasmine Irving says it’s a cool hobby she hopes never dies out.

“When you find something in an op-shop that fit’s you perfectly, you get that satisfaction.”

When it comes to cost, prices have risen but during the cost of living crisis, costs have risen in all areas. 

Irving believes op-shopping is still quite affordable despite the current economic state.

She understands op shops and boutiques have rent to pay which may interfere with the rise in their prices.

Accessories in Booteek
Accessories in Booteek Emily O'Hagan

Laura Castle, the owner of pre-loved clothing store Conscious Closet, says she noticed a rise in op shop pricing following Covid.

“Obviously they were closed for months on end and businesses were suffering so prices went up.”

She believes there are still many reasonably priced second-hand clothing stores out there, it just depends where you shop.

Many pre-loved clothing stores have taken on a look slightly different to charity shops.

Castle says many people who enter Conscious Closet aren’t aware it’s a thrift store until they see there is one of everything.

She says her store is clean and smells nice, making it a more enjoyable and easier experience for customers. 

For the majority of Christchurch op shops, the aim is for customers to understand why it’s important to thrift their clothes and to think twice about fast fashion.

Joshua Brosnahan