Eco-stylist Faye De Lanty is an ambassador for Salvos Stores, one of the many fabulous stallholders you'll find at Brisbane's Revive Second-Hand Fashion Festival on 17 August. Faye shares her story and offers 10 tips on thrifting like a stylist.

They say necessity is the mother of all invention and this phrase couldn’t ring truer for me.

While I grew up with parents who were always into antiques, op shops, second-hand and DIY, it wasn’t until I was living overseas on a very tight budget that it went from fun pastime to practicality. Living in London and New York City was an incredible experience, but it was definitely a phase in my life where I had to learn to live with less.

In my 20’s I was definitely a kid of excess. I ‘needed’ all the new clothes and shoes and whatever else I could get my hands on, and I would travel with the heaviest of suitcases because I also thought I ‘needed’ all those outfits. After constant issues with my back and a big gaping wound in my bank account, I decided to make a change and it was my time abroad that was the push I really needed.

With back issues of British Vogue as my guide, I began to scour the pages and challenge myself to re-master all the divine designer looks I spied. I would set myself a budget, then challenge myself to create a high-end look with only thrift shop finds. The more I did it, the more people would ask about my ensembles. I was creating an unintentional eco chic!

I soon realised this was not only a savings benefit for me, I could also help others and the planet. I could be of service through style. So with the encouragement of my best friend I started my website Fashion Hound to share my thrifty finds, and upon my return to Australia I decided to pitch the concept to the Salvation Army.

Fast forward 5 years and I am super proud to say I am the eco-stylist and ambassador for Salvos Stores. In short, it’s my job to show you that second-hand never ever has to mean sacrificing style.

5 reasons to clothes shop with charities

When you choose to shop with a charity like Salvos Stores you will:

  • save money, people and the planet
  • divert textile waste from landfill
  • support the mission of a very worthy cause
  • empower your local community
  • score incredible one-of-a-kind finds no matter what your size, shape, age or status.

Top 10 tips to thrift like a stylist

Far from a place where just fancy dress costumes and retro reign supreme, thrift stores are full of stylish, modern and on-trend items. I’ve been honoured to represent Salvos Stores at Brisbane City Council’s Revive Second-Hand Fashion Festival over the last two years. To make your shopping experiences a little easier, here are some tips.

1. DO YOUR HOMEWORK

The more you study fashion the savvier you will become with your thrift shopping because your eye will be finely tuned to the style world. British Vogue is my bible. It teaches me so much and not only the editorial but also the fashion advertorials by brands like Gucci, Prada and Chanel. My other daily go-to is Vogue Runway for every high-end show, designer info and street style trends.

2. TAKE INSPIRATION

I screenshot looks that I love and take them with me when I go thrifting. This really helps define what you are looking for and serves as great inspiration for creating designer looks for less.

3. START SIMPLY

I get it, thrift stores can be overwhelming!

So my advice is to start simply. Treat it like a normal shopping experience, be discerning. Don’t just buy a bunch of stuff because it’s inexpensive. You’ll just become a second hand hoarder. Begin by only looking for great quality classic items like a beautiful black jacket, a good pair of jeans, a simple tee or an LBD. Gain your thrifting confidence first and build from there.

4. SHOP THE WHOLE STORE

Not just your section! Goodies are everywhere so it really pays to look around. A lot of the time I actually head to the men’s section first – I love oversized guys vintage tees and cool tuxes. Then I always look at the $2 or clearance rack and the returns rack near the change room. You’ll be so surprised what you find!

5. THINK OUTSIDE THE SQUARE

Just because a scarf is traditionally for around the neck doesn’t mean it can’t moonlight as a wrap-around top secured with a fancy belt under a suit jacket. Same goes for a long sheer vest – maybe it could become a layer over pants or even an asymmetric side panel. I just see so much possibility and op shops allow you to play.

6. TRY D.I.Y.

A simple black pencil skirt reinvented with a feather trim takes it next level. Old buttons can be glue gunned onto a sweater to up the style stakes, or why not distress your own jeans. You don’t have to be a professional seamstress. There are so many simple DIY’s you can try, so jump online and explore.

7. DIVINE DETAILS

Always look for special trimmings – gold buttons, heavy zippers, great tailoring, designer-inspired hardware. All these elements can either mean ‘designer find’ or they can be a tool you use to create a designer-inspired outfit.

8. RESTYLE, REINVENT & REIMAGINE

I see the clothes as so much more than just garments on hangers; I love to see how far I can take it to recreate them. I cinch in waists, layer like it’s a sport, and tuck, twist and reshape. Use your designer inspiration pics and see what you can refashion. The only limit is your imagination.

9. TAILOR MADE

Find yourself a good tailor and have really special pieces you love altered to fit. I once found a Dior Homme jacket for $10! The shoulder pads were a little too 80’s for me and the sleeve was slightly long, but a quick tweak from my dressmaker and I had the most amazing designer jacket to add to my wardrobe.

10. ROTATE & DONATE

Keep your wardrobe moving and don’t hold onto to pieces your aren’t wearing. Donate them. My rule is, if I bring in ‘new’ finds, then the equal amount has to go out.

The Revive festival

With the above tips in mind, I hope you’ll enjoy the thrill of the hunt at the annual Revive festival at the South Bank Cultural Forecourt on 17 August.

Alongside the Salvos’ marquee (which you’ll find bursting with on-trend items), you’ll find a million hidden gems amongst the other retailers, a variety of themed fashion parades curated by my amazing friend Hannah from Never Ever Pay Retail, live entertainment and practical DIY workshops. And when it’s time to refuel, grab a seat in the speakers’ tent and learn from some of Brisbane’s most inspiring eco-wardrobe advocates about how to make the most of your existing wardrobes by supplementing it with thrifting.

If you’re looking for more inspiration, check out the regular thrift shopping segments on my YouTube channel that I create for The Today Show.

2018 Revive Second-Hand Fashion Festival 
Friday 17 August, 12pm-8pm
South Bank Cultural Forecourt, South Bank

Visit the Revive Facebook page for more details