A flare for business

Fashion Thrift Society founder Melody McCarthey has found that a love of dressing more sustainably and meeting like-minded fashionistas, is the perfect pattern for business success.

ENTREPRENEUR Melody McCarthy is the brains behind Perth’s latest fashion phenomenon, which has stormed the country and is now poised to go international.

Fashion Thrift Society, which Ms McCarthy founded just over a year ago, is a second-hand and vintage clothing market that’s cashing in on a younger generation’s eagerness for more sustainable threads. 

According to US “resale” industry analysts thredUP, the second-hand clothing market is expected to grow at three times the rate of the general global apparel industry by 2026.

ThredUP CEO James Reinhart said the trend was forcing a rethink by the major brands and retailers.

“In fact, brands with their own resale shops increased 275 per cent, from eight in 2020 to 30 in 2021,” Mr Reinhart said in the preamble to this year’s threadUP Resale Report.

“We are still in the very beginning of this trend, but the acceleration of resale adoption is a positive signal with enormous benefits for the planet,” he said.

Great news for Ms McCarthy who runs packed-out markets around the metro area every couple of month; but she says FTS is more than a mere marketplace. 

“It’s a fun community fashion-focused event where people can come meet new people, shop, find one of a kind treasures and goodies, eat good food and listen to good music,” she said. 

Besides its social appeal Fashion Thrift “also supports sustainable fashion; re-wearing is caring and an advocate for small businesses”.

Crowds have been packing out Fashion Thrift Society markets.

Originally from Brisbane, Ms McCarthy (27) graduated from the University of Queensland in 2013 with a marketing and PR degree, then launched her own festival-apparel brand.

She enjoyed some initial success over east, but the market disappeared almost overnight when Covid restrictions put an end to festivals and outdoor gatherings. 

Ms McCarthy relocated to Perth for a fresh start, considering options that used her marketing nous as well as her love for fashion. As a young girl she had spent hours sketching new Y2K outfits, despite wearing hand-me-downs herself, and says her obvious love of fashion rubbed off on others.

“I think people see the excitement and passion that I have and I think that sells people on the event,” she said. 

The first FTS gathering in June last year was a roaring success, with the queue snaking around the venue and people prepared to wait up to three hours for their chance to cruise the clothes racks. These days you can buy a VIP, all-day or sessional ticket to avoid the gnarly queue.

Ms McCarthy is currently on an Australia-wide Fashion Thrift Society tour that lands in Melbourne in November, though she’s ducking back to Perth for markets in Mirrabooka tomorrow (Sunday September 18), October 30 and December 3.

They’ve proven to be as much in demand over east as in Perth, with the Brisbane’s 9000-strong crowd breaking the FTS record in August.

The success has encouraged Ms McCarthy to expand the tour next year, with plans to visit around 25 venues.

Ms McCarthy told the Voice that Fashion Thrift Society will be going international very soon, but when and where is yet to be announced. However, she has announced she will be moving to London at the end of the year…

Tomorrow’s market will have more than 120 sellers as well as an appearance by Perth’s biggest social media influencer Gracie Piscopo, who has 1 million Instagram followers.

Tickets available at https://www. fashionthriftsociety.com.au/.

by MIA KNOX

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