Friday, June 22, 2012

Thrifters Around the World: Thrifting with Georgia in New Zealand

I've interviewed thrifters in Asia, Australia, the Arctic and across the USA- now we have a Kiwi! Today I'm pleased to interview Georgia, a hardcore thrifter and student who shows of her beautiful finds on the velvettes with her pal, Christie.  Take it away, Georgia!

Tell us a little bit about yourself, Georgia. 

I am a 20 year-old Media Studies student living in Wellington, New Zealand in an ancient 6-person flat. I've been thrifting for 8 years now, with no plans to stop anytime soon.

New Zealand is a faraway exotic fantasy land for many of us thrifters. Tell me about where you live and what it's like! 

Wellington is the capital of NZ, and is a beautiful city with tonnes of history and culture. I've lived in New Zealand all my life and my favourite thing is that no matter where you are, a half-hour drive can take you to beautiful scenery and nature.

When and why did you start thrifting? 

I started thrifting when I was 12, when I'd just learned to sew and needed cheap supplies to play around with (a.k.a. make hideous 'clothes' with). At first it was buttons, zips and old sheets, which soon became clothes, homewares and everything else.

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

New Zealand is a very young country compared to places like the US, so finding really old stuff is quite rare- which makes it a thrill when you do stumble across a 50s dress! I am also a sucker for historic NZ labels, and finding them is definitely a highlight for me.

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

Here, we call it 'opshopping', which comes from a chain of stores called The Great Opportunity Shop.

Is there a large thrifting/junking/second-hand shopping culture in New Zealand? Definitely! There are large warehouse-esque thrift stores in industrial areas most cities, and Wellington has a huge second-hand culture. I think it has developed more over the last 10 years, though. 

Is there a stigma against second-hand shopping in New Zealand? 

Is it seen as something dirty or something for low-income families? I think there may've been in recent decades, but it's definitely become very acceptable and hip to buy second-hand. I remember when I was 13 some girls from my school saw me coming out of an opshop and laughed hysterically, but when I was 18 the same girls were asking for advice on where to buy the best vintage. 

Are there any flea markets in New Zealand? What are they like? 

There are lots of markets here, but I'm not sure if I'd call any of them 'flea'. Mostly they are a mixture of fruit and veg, crafts and 'junk' with a bit of good second-hand thrown in. 

Are there many dumpster divers and curb-side hunters in New Zealand? (Find anything interesting?)

In Wellington there is a huge culture of roadside finds- when I moved here I left a boring party early to stumble across a flat cleaning out their entire home onto the roadside. A quick text to my flatmates and their living room became ours, carried up the hill, stopping occasionally to rest on our new couches and have a beer. Dumpster diving is reserved mainly for food that supermarkets throw out, but that's actually illegal so I won't say anymore! 

Is there a large thrift and craft culture in New Zealand? 

Absolutely, and it's growing rapidly. People are really starting to realise how many great things can be found and how cheaply you can live on the thrifting circuit. Crafts are definitely a cool thing to be doing, too.

What are thrift stores like in NZ? 

They vary! The best ones are the little suburban church-owned ones that are usually only open one or two days a week, but the huge warehouse-esque industrial ones can be great too. Mostly it's just the usual Salvation Army etc.

On Shipping: Is it crazy expensive to ship vintage to and fro where you live? 

It can be, but it's often cheaper to buy internationally and more lucrative to sell internationally anyway. It can be annoying to have to add the cost of shipping onto vintage, because it can add up to $20 onto a dress!

Special question! How have you and Christie developed your vintage style? 

I think when we started thrifting we were unsure what we really liked, but now we both have definitely vintage styles. That said, we used to have thrifting moments where we'd both want the same thing!

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

At the moment I am really into tapestries that are also portraits, but 1950s dresses will always be my favourite things to scope out. I got 2 for $5 each recently and just about died.

Owls versus Squirrels: Who's the new king of vintage? Go! 

I've just finished watching Twin Peaks so it's gotta be owls.

* * *

  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. I love all the pictures. Great post!

    1. Georgia and Christie take amazing pictures!

  2. great interview. so interesting to read about thrifting in different parts of the world! i always think that about canada too, that compared to say ... the UK... we are young in terms of tangible items that may land in a thrift store. but at the same time, we are quite multicultural, so you often see things from around the world, things that people brought with them to canada. i find that fascinating.

    and yes, must.knit.robot.sweater. :P

  3. From a distance, UK, Canadian and America thrift store seem almost exactly the same. The Canadian and UK ones seem more organized, though! Many US stops are super junky- that's part of the fun, though.

  4. Thanks so much for commenting on my blog so I was able to find yours! I love it! This post is awesome, I love seeing what people find at thrift stores. :)

  5. I didn't know this site existed until Georgia posted about it - I love hearing Georgia talk about thrifting in NZ, so this was a great post :)

    1. Thanks Zoe, I loved reading her talk about NZ too. It's a dream destination!


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

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