On Saturday morning, I drove over to the Claremont Showgrounds for the annual Bindaring Red Cross Clothing Sale – one of the biggest fundraiser for the Red Cross in Western Australia.
At 9am the Jumble Sale began. It was a warehouse full of secondhand items – women, men and children’s clothes, all sorted out into tops, dresses, skirts, pants, shoes, accessories etc. Most items were priced from $1 – $10.
At 10am the Designer Clothes Sale (new and selected secondhand items) began in a different warehouse. But here’s the BIG tip.
You have to start lining up at least 1 hour before, because the queue was enormous by 10am! The smell of high profile designer garments on super cheap sale had brought out a huge crowd of bargain hunters.
I went in at 10:05am and this is what I saw. Thousands of garments hung on racks, organised by sizes and type of clothing. There were hundreds of people there! It was CRAZY – in an exciting and fun way.
I squeezed my way through the madness and started to browse. I wouldn’t say women were actually fighting each other for the clothes, but there was definately a “Boxing Day Sale” fever to the speed with which girls were trying clothes on, and then going back for more. The clothes that were plonked in the returned basket from the dressing rooms were plucked out by other shoppers before the volunteers could re-rack them.
I guess it was fun because nobody was pretending to be dignified in an upmarket boutique, and just browsing. This was RAW shopping – with intent.
Some of the brands I saw at a glance – J Brand, ACNE, Josh Goot, Vivienne Westwood, Scanlan and Theodore, Bec and Bridge, Breathless, Flannel, Hussy, Wayne Cooper, Country Road, Witchery, Cue, Saba… and so many more.
Prices were colour-coded – $15, $20, $30, $40, $50 and $60. Volunteers were going along the check-out queues taking handfuls of cash from shoppers.
I found 6 items that caught my eye – but in the end I only decided to buy two.
I bought this Tee Dress, by Josh Goot, which was originally priced $520 on the shop label, but I got it for $40. It was sized S and in the most amazing blue! I didn’t try it on but I figured I could get it tailored to fit me.
And I bought a lovely knit top by Bianca Spender for Carla Zimpatti for $30.
Everything I browsed through was in great condition, like new. They weren’t stained, old, worn out, broken, or pilled. The Red Cross team definitely had great quality control on the garments.
The organisers told me that all items were either donated secondhand by the community, or donated BRAND NEW by local boutiques and designers moving on out-of-season stock.
In addition to the sale, the event holds a designer outfit auction. About 20 outfits were displayed on mannequins and interested buyers could walk up to them, feel the fabric and quality, and ask to try on certain items. But you had to bid on the WHOLE outfit. A great idea.
Some labels I saw on the auction mannequins: Moschino Cheap and Chic, Marc Jacobs, Versace, Chloe, Flannel, Vintage Oroton, Michelle Jank and more.
I really, really enjoyed myself! I felt so thrilled that everyone seemed to be grabbing a bargain. The atmosphere in the air was as if everyone hade just won a lottery and was about to do a happy-dance. It was sooooo much fun chatting to random, happy strangers about clothes.
And to top it all off, there were raffles, and a coffees and cakes stand! All homemade by the volunteer team, of course.
This sale makes the most money in one fundraising event for the local Red Cross. It has been running for 48 years and they have raised over $1.4 million in total.
It is all run by volunteers, and they made over $100,00 in a couple of hours.
WOW! What a cool fashion experience.
I’ll run a story about it before next year’s sale, in case you want to go!