11 Apr 2021

Op shop culture celebrated in Tāmaki

11:09 am on 11 April 2021

A move to change the image of op shopping is underway in Auckland.

Serena Stevenson has been documenting op shoppers and volunteers who work in the stores.

Serena Stevenson has been documenting op shoppers and volunteers who work in the stores. Photo: Supplied / Serena Stevenson

A festival to celebrate op shop culture as fashionable and funky has opened this weekend in Glen Innes and Panmure and run for 10 days.

Events include workshops, fashion parades and an art exhibition.

Project director Serena Stevenson said globally op shopping is becoming more mainstream.

She said op shops these days look like department stores.

''Everything is set out, colour co-ordinated. There's an area for crockery, an area for glassware, the beds are made up, room settings that have been designed and made up. Op shops didn't use to do that I am sure, I don't remember them like that.'

''It's becoming a thing that not just op shoppers are interested in or low socio-economic groups are interested in shopping at, or vintage and retro shoppers are interested in. I think it's becoming more like a normal thing to do.''

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Photo: Supplied / Serena Stevenson

She said New Zealand has an amazing op shop history and culture.

''We decided to start a pilot project to tell the stories and give the voices of Auckland - based in Tāmaki op shops a bit of exposure.''

Stevenson said op shop malls are popular overseas and New Zealand is a little late in catching up.

She said op shopping leads to bargains and buying something possibly not found anywhere else.

''I spent quite a bit of time documenting the stories and photographing, filming and interviewing and I found just so many layers to it.'

''I'm an op shopper but there is so much about it I never knew like the process the volunteers go through in the op shops and the care that they take.''