Preloved Clothing & Vintage Treasures That Encourage A Mindful Approach To Fashion

The most stylish way to dress right now is with a conscious mind

Left to right: Kimono shirt, $698, from Workshop. World trousers, $20, from Dove Hospice. Top, $115, from Wixxii Vintage. Dress, POA, from Dove Hospice. Vintage Companies earrings, $389, from Love & Object. Dries Van Noten blazer, $50, from St John. Vintage hat, $95, from Tango. Kate Sylvester brooch stylist’s own. Photo / Mara Sommer

Everybody requires clothes. However as one of the biggest producers of carbon emissions in the world, the global fashion industry has much to change when it comes to the way we produce and consume clothing. Whether a valuable piece of designer vintage or a second-hand treasure from your local church op-shop, now is the time to consider the timeless adage: reduce, reuse, recycle.

READ: The Latest Way To Buy Conscious Clothing In New Zealand

As fashions come and go, several eras continue to stand the test of time. From the tidy tailoring of the 1970s or the voluminous streetwear of the early 90s, what’s old is now new. Nothing beats the thrill of finding a special piece of pre-loved clothing at your favourite community op-shop, garage sale, consignment store or clothes swap. Our relationship with clothing also needs to change to one that aims to close the loop. So take care of your clothes and pass them on, because the most stylish way to dress right now is with a conscious mind. 

Photo / Mara Sommer

The Manifesto
“Buy less, choose well, make it last.” Dame Vivienne Westwood has long advocated mindful consumption. Not everyone can afford to buy the best, however, the point is to buy less and commit to wearing it many times. The Auckland City Mission’s community stores in Glen Innes, Grafton, Takapuna and Karangahape Rd offer a second life to second-hand goods, rather than sending them to landfill. Money raised supports programmes that help the most marginalised in society and funds its social services. To make a donation or volunteer, phone (09) 377 4322.

JFK wears Doris de Pont shirt, stylist’s own. Dries Van Noten blazer, POA, from Auckland City Mission. Workshop jeans, $40, from Savemart. Studded belt, POA, from Go Jo Recycled Clothing. Christian Dior scarf, $489, from Love & Object. Camper shoes JFK’s own.

Photo / Mara Sommer

The Sensual World
Thornton Hall, one of New Zealand’s biggest fashion exports during the 1980s and 1990s, epitomised affordable glamour. Today, this belted, shoulder-padded day dress evokes the powerful glamour of a bygone era, still elegant as it hangs on a rack at the St John community store in Papakura. “Our shops are billboards for St John in the communities they serve, which enables us to promote all the great charitable work that we do,” says St John director of community health services, Sarah Manley. “They also provide a point of community connection, which creates the opportunity for everyone to give back in their own way either through volunteering, donating goods or shopping for a bargain.”

Ch’lita wears Thornton Hall dress, POA, from St John. Chanel bracelet, $2390, Vintage Companies earrings $389, Olympia ring $1190, and stacker rings, $469 each, from Love & Object.

Photo / Mara Sommer

Body & Soul
Look for up-cycled fabrics to provide a point of difference you can wear with pride. Workshop’s Chris Cherry acquired pure silk vintage kimono fabrics from an international textile exhibition and transformed them into a limited edition collection of just eight shirts.

Dan wears repurposed kimono shirt, $698, available only from Workshop Ponsonby and his own denim shorts.

Photo / Mara Sommer

City Of Women
If in doubt, a LBD will suffice for every special occasion. Rather than fall into the trap of another chain-store one-night-only frock, explore the range of unique little black dress options at your local op-shop.

Ch’lita wears black dress, POA, from Go Jo Recycled Clothing. Blazer, $8, scarf $10, and heels $20, all from Auckland City Mission. Kate Sylvester handkerchief stylist’s own. Levante tights, $25, from Farmers. 9ct gold cross pendant, $1480, from Walker & Hall Vintage.

Photo / Mara Sommer

The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie
Designer vintage is seeing a resurgence of late, as consumers become increasingly aware of its value in a world bombarded with the fast-fashion churn. Collectors’ pieces like a classic Chanel boucle jacket is a designer wardrobe staple that can easily be loved, cherished and handed down through generations. When it comes to the debate around whether luxury can be sustainable, you can’t look past the merits of know-how and craftsmanship.

Ch’lita wears Chanel jacket, $1995, from Scotties Recycle. Patronilla shirt $329. Wrangler trousers, $120, from Tango. Vintage scarf and heels, POA, from St John.

Photo / Mara Sommer

Style & Substance
Summertime menswear focuses on short-sleeved shirts that hark bark to the 1950s and 1960s. While present day designers try to capture that breezy effortlessness, search for local charity store to find the real mccoy with hard to find and unique retro-prints.

Dan wears shirt, $36, from Go Jo Recycled Clothing. Levi’s jeans, $35, from Savemart. Le Van Dan tote bag, $25. Model’s own Nike shoes.

Photo / Mara Sommer

This Woman’s Work
Mix the high and low and have fun when it comes to recyled fashion. A vintage pearl necklace and traditional floral blouse, is given a rock ‘n’ roll sensibility when teamed with a leatherette mini for one thoughtful, head-turning look.

Ch’lita wears blouse $10 and mini-skirt, $10, from the Auckland City Mission. L.L. Bean vest, $64, from Waves. Belt, POA, from Go Jo Recycled Store. Pearl and crystal choker, $389, from Love & Object. Bag with matching purse inside, $25, from St John.

Photo / Mara Sommer

Natural Wonder
The naturalism movement of the 1970s held the belief that nothing exists beyond the natural world. It’s also an era that continues to stand the test of time when it comes to sartorial inspiration, from sharp collars to languid trousers, pieces that are anything but a retro pastiche. Here, JFK wears an outfit that feels thoroughly modern.

JFK wears jacket and trousers, POA, from Go Jo Recycle Clothing.

Photo / Mara Sommer

The Clash
Vintage shopping can encourage a mishmash of eras worn in a single outfit. Head west to Go Jo Recycled Clothing in New Lynn, where for the past decade owner Jo Bratton has curated a selection of some of the best vintage pieces you’ll find anywhere. A quiet enclave on her second floor houses a range of hard-to-find designer pieces (by invitation only); and, on the lower level, a well-edited range of separates, accessories and menswear.

Ch’lita wears blouse, $29, from Go Jo Recycled Clothing. Chanel skirt, $795, from Scotties Recycle. Pamela McCoy jacket, $264, from Waves. Chanel bracelet, $2390, and Vintage Companies bag, $389, from Love & Object. Mi Piaci shoes, $15, from Dove Hospice. Ambra tights, $28, from Farmers.

Models / Ch’lita Collins @ Clyne, Daniel Kapoki @ 62 Management, JFK @ N Model Management. Makeup and Grooming / Shirley Simpson using Aleph. Hair / Brad Lepper @ French Revolver. Fashion assistant / Rosie Herdman. Photographer’s assistant / Bridget McCarthy

STOCKISTS: Auckland City Mission (09) 303 9200; Dove Hospice (09) 638 9763;, Go Jo Recycled Store (09) 826 3464;;; Patronilla:; Scotties Recycle (09) 379 6617; Savemart (09 622 1759; St John (027) 242 5459; Tango Vintage (09) 300 7165;;

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