Who gives a frock

During the two WA lockdowns this year, many people spent time clearing out the clutter in their wardrobes.

Charity shop employees have realised donations are transitioning from quality clothing to dirty laundry and even damaged goods. 

Store manager of Red Cross Cottesloe Melanie Wells says before the first lockdown in January, they would receive 80 per cent sellable stock and 20 per cent unsellable, but it is now the opposite.

The Red Cross clothing store in Cottesloe. Image: Tilli Andrew.

“Since the second lockdown it definitely feels like people are treating us [Red Cross] as a dumping site as opposed to a charity,” she says.

On Sunday, the Bindaring clothing sale took place at Claremont showgrounds.

The sale is an annual initiative to raise money for the Red Cross in WA. 

Despite the rise in poor quality donations being given to charity clothing shops, event coordinators Lindy Rosenwax and Tresna Cusack say this year’s sale was the most successful to date.  

Tresna Cusack and Lindy Rosenwax explain the success of the day. Video: Tilli Andrew.
Curtin students at the upcycle markets discuss whether or not they have donated clothes recently. Video: Tilli Andrew.

Store manager of Victoria Park Salvos Susanne Turner says she has been overwhelmed with the amount of donations received after the COVID-19 lockdowns this year. 

Sorting through donations is a time consuming process. Image: Tilli Andrew.

“We are only now starting to get back on track with organising all of the stock as donations just haven’t slowed down,” she says. 

Ms Turner says the time spent sorting through damaged items limits the focus on organising stock that is fit for purchase.

Store manager of RSPCA Reloved Fashion Fremantle Claire Taylor advises people to call the op shop they want to donate to before dropping anything off, especially if it’s a large donation. 

“We all have slightly different guidelines. Here at Reloved there is very little stock I can’t recycle for other purposes, but in general it saves time for the volunteers if people know what they can and can’t donate,” she says. 

Ms Wells agrees the process of sorting through people’s discarded goods takes time away from core business activity, such as tending to customers and maintaining the physical presence of the store. 

Categories: Community, Fashion

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