Bargain Fashion

Reporter: Jasmine Homer

In a life time, the Australian woman will spend around 150 thousand dollars on clothes, shoes, handbags, accessories and cosmetics. But updating your look doesn't have to break the bank. In fact, you can do with your loose change and even for free.

This is Perth's clothing exchange where all you need are the clothes you no longer wear. Vanessa Brown says "You can see your unwanted clothing go to a good home." The concept was born in Melbourne, in response to growing concerns over tonnes of unwanted clothing ending up in landfill. "People are going out and buying without thinking of the consequences of their actions."

Here's how it works. You pay 25 dollars for a ticket and bring six items of clothing.You get six buttons, which you swap for other clothes. "So Vanessa you can actually get some pretty good quality stuff here, this is Cue, that doesn't come cheap at the shops at all... yeah and we've got some Esprit mixed in there as well. This is Abercrombie and Fitch. Yeah we do encourage our guests to bring their labels, anything from higher end stores, locally made clothes as well." A new look, for nothing.

If you've got money to spend - even just 20 dollars - try your luck at the Melville Markets; a Sunday swap meet FULL of second hand treasures. "Make sure it is something that you will actually wear, there's no point picking up a bargain if it's just going to sit in the back of your wardrobe." The West Australian's Fashion Editor Pip Christmass. "I think the markets are a great place to come for the weekend and shop, you can make a day of it, it's a really social experience you also don't feel the same intimidation that you might feel when you're walking into a designer boutique and you're also not paying those huge markups that you do in a shop so you're getting everything for a lot cheaper."

Cheap is right - some of the savings you have to see to believe.

Our first buy - a Veronica Maine skirt - 10 dollars.

"Pip how much would something like that sell for at the shops? Normally a Veronica Maine skirt would sell for around 200 dollars.Veronica Maine's designed by the same people who make Cue, so it's a great Australian label, but they also import their fabric from Italy so the quality's really good."

A dress by Alannah Hill - you could pay up to 380 dollars new...here...twenty. Pip says "Alannah Hill is another great Australian designer and this dress is actually made out of 100 per cent Australian silk so it's amazing quality."

"Pip I've just found these jeans, what can you tell me about these? Well these are True Religion jeans, an American label, it's one of the best known demins on the planet. They've obviously never been worn, the original price tag says 345 dollars, but I can get them for $45, so it's an amazing bargain, it's great, yeah it's really good."

Here's the rest of our loot; a shopping bag straight off the high street.

A Kookai vest - 80 dollars in the shops. We get it for five.

This DKNY top for 8 dollars - it would have been around 120 in the shops.

A Sass and Bide t-shirt - 90 dollars retail - down to five.

An Alannah Hill camisole - 70 dollars worth - also for five dollars.

All good quality - hardly ever worn. So, here's the bottom line....seven items, which if you'd bought them new would have cost a whopping 1285 dollars, but here....98 dollars "Pip so we've saved more than a thousand dollars. Yep, they're an amazing addition to the winter wardrobe, I think."

Second hand stuff, but really, who would ever know? So put your ego aside... you don't have to buy new everytime. Vanessa says "Swapping gives you the choice to activate that fashion waste and to contribute to the sustainability of the planet rather than a whole bunch of unused and unwanted clothing going into landfill."

For further details visit

www.clothingexchange.com.au/Site/Contact.html