Adorned in a dress from 1930, a jacket from the 1950s and boots from the 1960s, Christin Schaeffner stood beside a mountain of discarded textiles imploring people to be smarter with their clothing choices.
The pile was made up of clothing items donated to various Nelson op shops but were unable to be sold due to their condition.
Christin moved to New Zealand from Germany two years ago and began working in Nelson’s Habitat for Humanity.
She was horrified to see not only the poor quality of donations, but the amount op shops were forced to put in landfills.
“I wanted to get the message across of how much textile is wasted in Nelson every single week through op shops and educate people about what op shops are actually capable of doing.”
Christin staged her protest at Saturday’s ‘Swap ‘till You Drop’ ethical clothing swap at Founders Park, which saw hundreds of shoppers pour through the gates in search of a good bargain.
Christin says people often donate their soiled and ripped clothing believing it can be repaired and resold.
“If you decide to throw something away because it needs mending, fixing, washing or and give it to the op shop, imagine the amount of work the people at the op shop have to do when you multiply this by 200. Often its irreparable. it becomes unrealistic.”
She says another issue is the fast fashion phenomenon.
“These are items worn only three or four times before being thrown away.”
Christin says she also wants to see more firmness from op shops and for them to start refusing unusable items.