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A person sifting through Hawaiian shirts at a thrift store
Photograph: Becca McHaffie/Creative Commons

The best op shops in Brisbane for sustainable shopping

Discover the funky, ethical world of Brisbane op shops

Written by
Anne Golding-Ross

Discover the thrill of hunting for bargain designer clothing and quirky retro fashion. It’s an opportunity to support a charity that’s close to your heart and to re-purpose and recycle goods that might otherwise go to landfill. 

A visit to an op shop can help you get off the fast fashion merry-go-round and give new life to clothing, fashion accessories, books, furniture and homewares. You will always find something to intrigue and surprise you. 

We'd be remiss if we didn’t also mention the Salvos, Red Cross, Lifeline, the RSPCA and the Asthma Foundation, which all have stores in many locations around Brisbane. Magic happens when charity shops cluster together, such as at Stones Corner, an area of Brisbane beloved by op shop addicts. 

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The coolest op shops in Brisvegas

  • Shopping
  • Op shops
  • Paddington

This charity assists children and young people with brain injuries, helping them to reach their full potential, and dedicated volunteers work to keep the doors open seven days a week.

The Rosalie store is surprisingly large and took me about an hour to browse through. There are nine rooms packed with recycled clothes, jewellery and bric-a-brac. There’s a dedicated room for linen, as well as one for household goods, making this shop a great resource for anyone who is moving out of home for the first time.

There is also a room bursting with children’s books and toys. Prices are generally less than $10, and some items are free. There are bargains to be found here; I spied a pair of white Calvin Klein trousers for only $8. 

There are other Yesterdays Thrift Stores in Paddington, West End and Mitchelton, plus the furniture store at Annerley. There's also an online store, so you can shop from home if you'd rather do your browsing in front of the computer.

Vinnies is one of the big players in the world of Brisbane op shopping. While not the cheapest charity store on the block, with prices ranging from $9 to $100, Vinnies raises money to support people experiencing poverty and mental illness, providing them with much-needed essential items.

There are two Vinnies stores that are well worth a visit in Brisbane. You can’t beat the Vinnies Paddington store for character and location. It’s situated in a beautiful old town hall in the centre of the trendy Paddington shopping area. Grab a coffee at one of the local cafés, then visit Vinnies to check out the huge range of quirky retro clothing, shoes, framed artworks and linen.

Vinnies at Newstead has an even larger collection of recycled items, including a lovely formal and bridal area. Blokes are very well catered for, with a large range of business and casual wear, and the bric-a-brac is diverse and interesting – you might even find secondhand computers and games. If you love to read, this is also the shop for you, with good quality fiction and children’s books for less than $5.

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  • Op shops
  • Brisbane City

It is difficult to think of a braver or more worthy cause than Broken to Brilliant, a not-for-profit organisation started by domestic abuse survivors. By mentoring recent victims, Broken to Brilliant empowers them to rebuild their lives, take control of their finances and move on to a new and better chapter.

The city op shop is in the Adelaide Street Arcade, an easy walk from King George Square. The store is well stocked with a lovely range of low-cost women’s clothing, bric-a-brac and accessories for less than $20. It’s a great place to build up your work wardrobe. The Adelaide Street Arcade also houses other charity and clothing shops where you might nab some genuine retro treasures.

Broken to Brilliant also has a shop at Geebung, where I purchased a stylish long-sleeved shirt for only $9. Geebung, conveniently close to the train station, also has regular plant sales. 

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  • Op shops
  • Paddington - Milton

Tucked away under the old Red Hill Baptist Church Hall on Windsor Road is the church's Thrift Shop and Eternity Boutique. It stocks an astonishingly large range of lovingly organised clothing and bric-a-brac and is a great place to find something quirky and colourful.

All sizes and tastes are catered for, whether you are dressing for work, a party or formal event, or looking for a costume. I staggered out of the store with a large bag of bargain clothing, most of which were less than $10 per item.

If you’re looking for a print or a bargain frame, there is also an interesting range of hangable art. For lovers of vintage and collectables, visit pop-up shop Lydia’s in the same location on the last Thursday, Friday and Saturday of every month. Funds are used to run community financial literacy programs and international charities. Volunteers love chatting to and helping their regular customers. Off-street parking is available.

  • Shopping
  • Op shops
  • Annerley

The Ipswich Road strip of Annerley is a nerve centre for nostalgia. Antiques shops, comics shops and retro toy shops are all clustered around the ancient Annerley Arcade, and one can easily while away a morning browsing bric-a-brac of yesteryear. Vintage Revival is a highlight: a wonderfully curated second-hand clothing store decorated with sixties wallpaper and posters of Golden Age film classics and stars like Lauren Bacall and Marlon Brando. 

It’s the kind of place where cool kids discovering 1970s fashion rub shoulders with old codgers talking about the good old days. Items are grouped according to the era in which they were made (or which inspired them), and you can pick up a fab little number here for around $15. Grab a halter top, cloche hat, go-go dress or Paisley shirt and a pair of old school Ray Bans to go with them. 

There are shoes, hats, wigs and some fancy dress outfits too. The shop is run by Lifeline but you’d swear it was someone’s passion project. We adore it.  

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