Friday, April 20, 2012

Thrifters Around the World: Bianca's Thrifting Adventures in Tasmania!

I've been a fan of Bianca's fun cute artsy-vintage blog Goodnight Little Spoon since I found it three years ago at work looking for photos of Legos for a project! Bianca's an Australian expatriate thrifter with tons of cute vintage, so I had to ask her about what it's like to thrift in Tasmania. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself, Bianca.

Hi there. I am a 22-year old contemporary arts student currently residing in lovely Launceston, Tasmania. I love making collages, thrifting, vintage clothes, riding my bike, playing with my cats and blogging. I'd like to become a primary school teacher but in the mean time I am your friendly supermarket checkout girl.

When and why did you start thrifting?

My mum always inspired a sense of the three R's in me (reuse, recycle, reduce) as a child. She was a single parent and we were poor, and although it didn't really occur to me at the time, almost all of our furniture, clothes and toys were thrifted or second-hand. She has a knack for finding great second-hand items repurposing things. Our favourite 'opshop' was a huge warehouse type place, run by one old lady and it used to feel like the place where all the treasures lived. There has always been a normalcy and necessity to op-shopping for me. When I was about three or four, my mum would buy amazing old second-hand children's dresses, give them a bit of a spruce, and while the other children wore pilly tracksuits to pre-school, I'd be in beautiful vintage gowns. I still thrift avidly. The feeling after having thrifted that perfect item far rivals the feeling of buying anything new. Thrifting is my feel-good thing to do. I always feel better after a day out opshopping even if I come home empty handed.

What do you think makes thrifting in Australia different than thrifting in the United States or other places in the world?

I'm yet to dip my toes into international thrifting - watch out!

What are the names for "thrifting" in Australia? Any special nick names?

I think it's pretty standard to call it 'op-shopping' in Australia. Or perhaps 'second hand shopping'. Thrifting is a fun term for it, though it's not widely used here.

You've lived in both Newcastle Australia and Tasmania, are there any differences in the thrifting/second hand/art culture in these areas?

Both have their high points and low points when it comes to thrifting. Both are great hives of creativity with amazing art scenes. Newcastle is not too far from the state capital, Sydney and often has it's opshops trawled over by Sydney-siders for reselling in their (pricey) Sydney vintage shops. Many bargains are still to be had there though. Opshops in Tasmania are always full of people, but I don't think 'vintage' has taken off here the way it has on the mainland, so there are some real treasures to be found. Prices for second hand items on the mainland were probably a tad higher.

Is there a stigma against second-hand shopping in Newcastle or Tasmania? Is it seen as something dirty or something for low-income families?

Not that I've noticed actually. Opshops are pretty abundant in Australia and are filled with people from all walks of life. I don't think I've actually ever met anyone who had a bad word to say about opshops!

Are there any flea markets in Tasmania? What are they like?

Nearby to where I live the biggest and best market would be the Evandale Markets. Lots of clothes, books and second hand homewares can be found there and they have a great indoor section full of handpicked vintage goodies. I love to pore over the papergoods in there - postcards, old ration books, retro magazines, etc. There are other smaller markets nearby that get very junk-y - the kind of stuff that opshops probably wouldn't take in. In the South of the state, in Hobart, are the Saturday Salamanca Markets which you need at least 3 hours to properly peruse - they are amazing. I love a good second-hand market and Tasmania's offerings are pretty good.


Is there a large thrift and craft culture in Tasmania?

I think so. Tasmania is full of crafty, interesting, thrifty folk and most of the people I go to university with thrift on at least a monthly basis.

What are thrift stores like in Tasmania?

Thrift stores in Tasmania are really interesting to me because it is an island state and I like to see what has made it over to the island over the ages and what was really popular. Opshops are a really interesting cross section of local culture and to me they're kind of like little museums for the unwanted and unappreciated. In Tasmania, I don't think vintage has peaked in the same way that it has on the mainland, so I have found some amazing things I definitely wouldn't have elsewhere, just based on the fact that I'm the only one looking for them! One awesome thing about Tasmanian opshops is that the Savlos here do 20% off every Wednesday for students.

Where is your favorite place in the World to Thrift?

Well, my favourite place to thrift in Tasmania is the Youngtown Mission Shop. It has an extensive section of antiques and collectibles sorted by colour. I often just go there to window shop! My other favourite, for the same reasons, in Newcastle, is the Centennial Centre - a huge warehouse space full of 20-something little vintage clothes and homeware stalls. It's dreamy, believe me!

What's your favorite thing to collect from thrift stores?

Framed art, interesting fabrics and linen, papergoods, good records and clothing accessories.

I love your collages, art pieces, and mail art. Do your supplies, materials, and even inspirations come from thrift stores/op-shops/second-hand shops?

They definitely do. I collect magazines, playing cards, photos, postcards, stickers, record covers and books from thrift stores for my collaging and mail art. I find things that are far more unique and interesting than if I bought them brand new. Also, I just feel inspired by thrift stores in general. I like to think about the histories of the objects within - the lives they've had, the stories attached to them. I love finding inscriptions in old books and old photographs for that reason.

You find amazing vintage dresses, where do you hunt for them, and what are you tips for finding them?

Clothes shopping at opshops can be labour intensive with little reward - but I have had some big wins. I find that if I browse the aisles with colour and pattern in mind, I tend to find things that aren't necessarily prefect, but that can be altered or turned into something new. Opshops here have 'retro/fancy dress' sections, which rarely contain the goodies - they're usually hidden deep on the racks. I am lucky to have some great vintage clothes stores in Launceston (Cinty's and Nanna's) which take the hassle out of poring through opshop racks, but I still like to go hunting. I think the main tip I'd give for any kind of opshopping is to make a list of the kinds of things you'd like to find, and look in the sections you might find them in. Be really thorough, give yourself at least half an hour for each store. I am of the mind that there's always something hiding in there for me, I just need to unearth it!

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  If you would like to be featured in Thrifters Around the World, shoot me an e-mail.  I would love to interview you and chat about thrifting where you live.

Past Thrifters Around The World Interviews:
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  1. What a fun read! And I love looking at all of the photos of her fabulous finds. That one photo that shows the shop shelves with all of the tins? My lawd... I would grab all of that stuff! I'd love to live in a place where vintage hasn't hit it big yet. And you can definitely tell that her Mom dressed her funky and stylish as a little kid because she's got major style now.

    1. I'd definitely grab all that stuff, too. I love her funky style ;)

  2. What an interesting post and series of posts! One of the things that I love the most about having moved from Argentina to California is the fact that there are thrift and vintage stores everywhere; it's a dream! :D

    And, btw, I love Bianca's style, too!

    Hope you have a great weekend!


    1. The US is definitely a vintage-filled paradise. I can't wait to check out some West Coast thrifts...

  3. it seems to me that she will make an excellent primary school teacher. imagine the craft projects...


I love reading your comments. Thank you for adding to the discussion! I always reply to any and all questions.

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