Newcastle, for all its glorious beaches, fecund palm trees, broad streets and pop-up shop awesomeness, is not a destination known for its shopping. Trust me, this is for good reason. Severely sparse pickings on the fashion retail therapy front.
Baking in the Hunter Valley sun after schlepping from the beachfront, through the Hunter St Mall and up the celebrated Darby street seeking shopping relief. I panted my way along Glebe St to discover The Junction – according to Vogue Forums – had a redeeming boutique called Lillies at the Junction. And yes, Lillies is swell, if you love love love Trelise Cooper and were looking to blow a cool couple of grand on your afternoon shopping spree. So, no offense to Lillie’s or Trelise, I moved on rather disheartened and was starting to consider the whole mission a failure, dragging my feet along Union St when the Red Cross shop caught my eye.
In I walked and was immediately soothed by the conducive shopping tunes of ABBA’s greatest hits (play Dancing Queen next time you’re trying on a skintight pair of jeans and you’ll agree, there’s something in that disco mix that makes everything OK). The lovely Adele was busily working her visual merchandising magic and I was so taken aback by the loveliness of the shop displays, I had to poke my head back out the door to check the sign. Yep – Red Cross Op Shop – most peculiar.
Then my busy hand fingered the racks turning up label after label of beautifully pressed, barely worn clothes. Jigsaw, Witchery, Country Road, Escada, Max Mara, Cue… all in my size! The final assault were the price tags. Almost new, trans-seasonal wool-blend trousers for $12.99, dresses for $15 and jackets for $20, I needed to know what was going on.
Patient Adele explained it all to me - luckily - because now I can share this news with you (unless, of course, you already have known for ages in which case WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME?). Red Threads is the Red Cross’ fashion initiative where they only keep premium quality donations and attract partnerships with fashion labels who donate their seconds stock. Store Manager, Megan, has decorated the boutique with bunting and cute signs which, along with Adele’s zjooshing make this one happy little oasis of bargain bliss.
It’s fabulous. You can nab a new outfit for less than $50 and enjoy warm fuzzies all in one fix.