Pre-loved passion

Alex van Os and Isabella Mamas are local fashion bloggers who have made a name for themselves through their funky re-imaginings of secondhand garments. They give us the low down on how to nail sustainable and stylish.



Name: Alex van Os

Insta: Op_Shop_to_Runway

Day job: Costume buyer on A Place to Call Home

Describe your style?
A forever changing eclectic mash of vintage, secondhand and new pieces

Favourite place to shop?
Red Cross Op Shops

Less is more – does sustainable shopping mean buying fewer items?
It does – but I would be lying if I say that is my case. I purchase around 85% of my wardrobe secondhand, and once I am done with an item I give it back to charity. I hope the process continues with the next person.

Alex’s Tips for buying recycled:

• Run your hand over the fabric, it has to feel good on your skin (I steer clear of polyester and go for natural fibres)
• Try everything on and don’t be put off by brand or sizing
• Know your body shape and understand what styles and colours flatter you
• Pay attention to the condition garments are in as well as the quality
• Visit your local op shops regularly to make sure you snag the gems
• To find staple items that will get a lot of use look for black and white clothing that will go with any trend
• If you are happy with paying a certain price, then the price is right
• Purchase what you love, don’t buy items on a whim!
• Know your price limit and don’t be afraid to bargain



Name: Isabella Mamas

Insta: bella.mamas

Day job: I’m still at school, in year 11!

Describe your style?
I mix range of styles together to make my own

Favourite place to shop:
Markets and My Refinery

Can a fashionista really ever be sustainable?
Everyone can be sustainable if they try, the fashion industry included. Some of my favourite stylists and bloggers wear secondhand and recycled fashion all the time. It’s also good to check out what your mum/grandmother or anyone else might have, because chances are these items will come back into fashion in some way, shape or form.

What’s your favourite recycled item of clothing?
A black double breasted blazer I picked up from Salvos.

Bella’s Tips for buying recycled:

• Go in with an open-mind and get creative
• Keep an eye out for your favourite colours and prints
• Try new styles on that you might not normally go for – it might look amazing on!
• Avoid shoulder pads
• Before buying think where and how many times you are going to wear each item, that will help decipher whether to purchase and how much you should be spending on it
• Donate your clothes back to op shops when you are ready to part with them!

Earth Hour Sustainable Fashion Parade

Leichhardt Council are celebrating the creation of the Leichhardt Sustainable Shopping Guide and Earth Hour with a Sustainable Fashion Parade next Saturday March 19 at the Hannaford Centre. To get a taste of some of the styles that will be showcased on the runway, here is a rundown of the local designers, boutiques and market stalls involved.

Red Cross Rozelle

The Red Cross at Rozelle is renowned for its beautiful selection of designer clothing. One of the most upmarket of all secondhand stores in the Inner West, here you can bag the off-casts of some of Sydney’s most fashion forward individuals. Their wonderful selection of handbags and scarves always yields afew designer steals.

Vinnies Leichhardt

The Leichhardt Vinnies is another go-to shop for upmarket recycled fashion with their stunning array of beautiful designer pieces. They specialise in jewellery, which they stock in abundance, both costume and fine. Their main focus, however, resides in women’s attire, and the quality of their stock renders this store far more like a boutique than a traditional Vinnies store.

Vinnies Rozelle

The Vinnies in Rozelle is a veritable treasure trove. With a wide range of clothing that may not necessarily be by recognisable brands, they cultivate quirky items of good quality, with a smattering of vintage jewels. Outside their fashion options they stock a large range of home wares.

Ruth Morris

Ruth Morris has been a regular at Rozelle markets for nearly eight years. She began selling her mother’s and her own old clothes, falling in love with Rozelle Market’s overwhelming atmosphere of family and community. Seeing the faces of customers when they find the perfect piece is the reason Ruth keeps returning to Rozelle Markets – also the smiles on her customers’ faces when they come back to her stall and tell her about the compliments they’ve received.


Zhinzonn Enterprises has recently begun selling recycled fashion at Rozelle Market. Named after their beloved cat, Zhinzonn specialises in men and women’s fashion and all kinds of accessories from bags and jewellery to fabric and bric-a-brac ornaments. Their selection is tasteful, and perfect for finding that special standout piece.

sustainability-fashion-molluscMollusc Designs

Voola Taka-Symington’s love affair with Rozelle markets began when she had a garage sale there eight years ago, and sold some jewellery she made on the side. Now Voola has her own line of sought after jewellery, which largely uses recycled materials and is all hand-made in her Waterloo home. Her Rozelle stall also stocks a selection of high quality pre-loved designer clothing.

Kim Kabat

Kim Kabat is a woman of many hats, both literally and figuratively. A silver smith with over six years of experience, Kim’s stall at Rozelle Markets features her handmade jewellery in sterling silver, polymer clays, leather and stones. She is also a milliner, with a beautiful collection of handmade felt hats, straw summer hats and fascinators to boot.

Joanna Kopocinska

Seven years ago Joanna stumbled upon Rozelle markets, and never looked back. Now a stall holder offering handmade necklaces and scarves, Joanna’s fascinating and unique designs have a long history. An alumni of the prestigious Academy of Art in Poland, she sources materials for her work during her travels abroad and draws inspiration for her designs from patterns in nature and her own imagination.

Leichhardt’s Sustainable Shopping Guide

The online Sustainable Shopping Guide Leichhardt has been made to promote local businesses and community enterprises paving the way to a sustainable future. They all feature Fair Trade, waste-reducing, recycled and up-cycled choices in food, fashion, drink, furniture and services. There are over forty businesses in the guide for you to discover.

If you want to reduce the environmental impact of your home or business check out the “Sustainability Tips” on the Sustainable Leichhardt website.

Sustainable Shopping Guide Leichhardt is a two year project supported by the NSW EPA Waste Less, Recycle More initiative funded from the waste levy.