You never know what you’ll find when rummaging through an op shop, but at St Matthew’s Op Shop in Wendouree that diamond in the rough is likely to be high-end fashion without the sky-high price tag.
The op shop tries to stand out from the others by offering big-name fashion brands at bargain prices.
Last week the list of designers represented looked more boutique than budget op shop.
Dolce & Gabbana, Peri Cutten, Zimmermann, Sass and Bide, Jag, Esprit, Sportscraft, Balmain and Scanlan Theodore were just some of the labels on the racks.
Op shop manager Beverley Waller said a focus on the designer duds was a point of difference to try to stand out from the many other op shops around Ballarat.
“The quality clothes really stand out from anything else,” Ms Waller said.
“We try to put racks of better quality clothes at the back of the store and they go very quickly.”
Ms Waller said those in the know visited regularly because the quality items were often snapped up within hours of being put out for sale.
It’s not only the customers who benefit from the designer clothes that are donated to the op shop; profits support local, national and international causes.
“We give a percentage to missions every month, and there are certain things that we support including the Shower Bus, and we help the Soup Bus, so a lot goes in to the community,” Ms Waller said.
A jar on the counter of the St Matthew’s op shop also collects donations to help parish priest Fr Constantine Osuchukwu build a clinic in Africa.
Ms Waller’s daughter Marcia was astonished at the clothes she found when she visited, and now brings friends in to help them overhaul their wardrobes.
“I was blown away by what we found,” she said. “There’s a Balmain jacket that sold new retail with a price of nearly $2000. What I can’t get over is many of them have never been worn and still have the original price tags on them!
“Some of the clothes you could be walking through Toorak, down Chapel Street, or be working in a high class office and no one would know you’d bought them at an op shop.”
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Everything sold at the op shop has been donated for sale to help raise funds for the various charities it helps support.
“There are always good quality clothes so there must be somebody, or a few people, out there with amazing taste who clears out their clothes regularly.
The St Matthew’s Op Shop is open weekdays 10am to 4pm and 10am to 2pm most Saturdays at the corner of Forest and Howitt streets.