Vintage, designer, well-loved? We’ve got it covered.
You know that slightly smug smile people give you when you ask where their clothes are from and they sympathetically reply with a brandish of their arm, “Oh this old thing? Sorry, it’s secondhand.”
Well, I want to be the one bearing that news. I want to be the one dressed in a vintage faux fur coat, in tattered cowboy boots and a well-loved leather jacket (perhaps not all at once).
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Thankfully, Melbourne is a treasure trove of good op shops. While we are spoilt with many online thrifting options, it’s just not the same as breathing in the musky, dusty air and being able to caress racks of preloved garments.
Shopping secondhand is also a great way to participate in the circular economy; by purchasing used clothes, you are helping to extend the lifecycle of a garment. But it’s important to keep in mind that op shops aren’t void of any ethical issues either – overconsumption and gentrification can still run rampant, so choose to shop consciously at this selection of Melbourne op shop hot spots.
Out of the Closet (OTC Vintage)
You might’ve seen OTC Vintage across the road from Flinders Street Station, with its dark staircases, walls lined with music posters from the ’70s, and music blaring from its speakers. For over 20 years, OTC has been slinging Melburnians vintage goods from every era, with a second location in Fitzroy.
A magical treasure trove of unique costume pieces and vintage gems, you never know what to expect when you walk into Shag. Spread out over its Windsor and Collingwood stores, Shag is a purveyor of wacky items, attracting buyers from film and television industries as well as individuals with eclectic style.
Affectionately known as Vinnies, St Vincent de Paul Society has over 100 op shops in Victoria. A home for clothing, household goods, furniture and bric-a-brac, Vinnies uses its funds to help marginalised groups such as low-income families, people experiencing homelessness, refugees and Indigenous Australians.
Madam Virtue & Co
Nestled on Barkly Street in St Kilda, Madam Virtue is a luxury consignment store. With an enviable and thorough selection of bags, jewellery, accessories and clothing, it boasts the names of many great fashion houses, as well as some lesser-known names.
Previously known as Recycle Boutique, Goodbyes is a unique reselling retail experience where customers can also dabble in consignment. With stores in Brunswick, Collingwood and Prahran, Goodbyes prides itself on quality, timeless goods, with a focus on local Australian and New Zealand labels.
When you walk into one of Vintage Sole’s three locations, you’ll be met by an onslaught of colour. Tie-dye tees, retro pop culture sweatshirts and patterned button-ups greet you upon entry. From its 2005 beginnings, Vintage Sole has consolidated its status as a vintage haven for Melburnians.
Since the ‘70s, Camberwell Markets has been opening its doors to bargain hunters every Sunday morning. This flea market attracts locals and treasure hunters alike – making this family-friendly weekly event a regularity for many. In 2001, two stallholders who met at Camberwell Markets were married at the market itself! Find vintage treasures or love here next Sunday.
Based in Brunswick and Thornbury, Mutual Muse is a secondhand reselling space that specialises in contemporary fashion. Though it stocks a bit of vintage and the odd unusual piece, Mutual Muse centres around the brands you already know and love. A quick scour through its online offerings finds brands like Weekday, Sister Studios, Assembly Label and Faithfull the Label.
Secondo is an apparel-heavy consignment store – its South Yarra storefront is a fixture in Melbourne’s secondhand scene. Local and international designers line its shelves, from Scanlan Theodore to Missoni. If you’re trying your hand at consignment, you’ll snag 40 per cent of the selling price.
There are over 100 Salvos stores in Melbourne filled with clothes, homewares, accessories, bric-a-brac and more. All profits from your purchases help fund The Salvation Army programs. If donating, you can drop off your preloved items at a nearby store or enquire about a doorstep pickup.
Swop is a clothing exchange built on the pillars of inclusivity and community. Opened in 2019, its Collingwood store stocks a funky array of items, ranging from wardrobe staples to rare finds. To maintain the high quality it’s known for, Swop has a pretty strict criteria for selling, meaning a lot of fast fashion brands are barred from the store.
Nestled among the hustle and bustle of Chapel Street, Eurotrash specialises in high-end, luxury designer goods. All items are hand-picked, with new items added in-store every day. Expect respected names such as Alexander McQueen, Christian Dior, Hermes and Versace to be on offer.
A new (pink) market is on the block. This influencer-driven secondhand market features the wardrobes of Melbourne-based fashion and lifestyle Instagrammers. Shop trendy and designer pieces in the comfort of a Mentone warehouse (coffee truck in tow).
With two locations in Melbourne, Yesteryear Vintage offers a premium selection of vintage clothing and accessories sourced from around the world. If you’re after high-quality Italian and French vintage clothing (including incredible swimwear) then this is the place to head.
Retrostar is synonymous with Melbourne’s vintage scene. For almost two decades now, Retrostar has been supplying the town with its massive selection of preloved goods, with an unmatched array of womenswear, menswear, accessories, sportswear and more. Keep an eye out for its famous warehouse sales too.
Brotherhood of St Laurence
Another big name in our not-for-profit sector is The Brotherhood of St Laurence. With just over 20 stores here in Melbourne and Greater Geelong, this chain of op shops not only helps to raise funds for community programs, but also assists people in developing their workplace skills.
Lost and Found Market
This colossal 900 square-metre space sits in the heart of Fitzroy. It’s a maze of delightful vintage knick-knacks and clothing; around each corner, you’ll never know what you’ll find. What started out as a bunch of collectors selling items in an abandoned Collingwood nightclub has since grown into a unique marketplace housed in a heritage building.
In its 30 years of operation, American Rag has grown to become the go-to destination for quality American vintage garments. An ode to its name, founder Eileen Carney is an American-born Australian known for her exquisite knowledge of vintage fashion. All pieces are hand-picked at its QV and Southgate stores.
Rightfully so, Savers’ tagline is ‘the recycle superstore’. This global secondhand retailer has been slinging used goods for over 60 years now and has landed in over 300 locations with 21,000 employees in total. You’ll need a massive bag and a lot of free time to work your way through its gigantic stores.
To learn more about the importance of the circular fashion economy, head here.