The hunt for the best Op-Shop continues



Continuing her quest for the greatest Auckland Op Shop, Sarah Smith a.k.a The Rational Dresser takes a trip to fashionable city shopping destination – High Street.

Located at downstairs at 9 High Street in Auckland is Emporio "U" Ladies Designer Recycle. This seemingly cave-like store, is, at first glance, a treasure trove of high-end designer goodies. However, the excited glance (read: $100 Chanel 2.55) is quickly followed by disappointment as you realise that in order to get a bargain, you’ll have to filter out the fakes (read: FAKE $100 Chanel 2.55).

Layout: It's a tiny store and really could do with relocating due to its overflowing stock. The store owner herself said she has too many handbags in the store! Thankfully, the huge array of selection is made easier by the clothing being sorted between garment types. However, all the dresses, regardless of designer, are crammed on the racks together. I would love to get a job in that store, simply to arrange the clothes in some sort of order that is easily browsed (and thereby maximising sales). Patience is the key here, make sure you have time on your side. The best strategy is to concentrate your effort on the specific garment you’re looking for and browse over other areas.

While the wear and tear and general standard of goods was top notch, the amount of fakes in the store was the biggest disappointment for me. There were fake Chloe bags in amongst the real ones and nearly all their Chanel purses weren’t authentic. Handbags are one of the most popular fashion fakes with thousands churned out in factories all around the world. It was a little disappointing to see that no effort was made to sort the fake goods from the authentic ones, especially in, what was supposed to be, a designer recycle store. I plucked up the courage to mention it to the owner (she was French, I figured she'd be used to people being so forward), she briskly said she sells on commission and didn't know the authenticity of the items. Not how I'd run a designer recycle store, but hey, not all the goods were fakes and there were some decent authentic items in there too.

Price: The price tags appeared to be extremely varied for no apparent reason, though this may have something to do with the commission set-up. They were also very hard to read and the fakes were priced similarly to the genuine ones. I almost bought a cute beige Chloe bag for $180. It was the only authentic Chloe bag in the store.


Don't park on High Street, weekday parking is only 30 minutes max. and weekends are 60 minutes. That is, of course, IF you can find a park on High Street!
Brush up on your authenticity skills. Otherwise you may think you've scored an amazing Chanel bag for $99 when in fact, it's just a very good, but very cheap, fake. Thankfully I’d previously immersed myself in the world of spotting fakes!
If you're unsure about something's authenticity and the shop owner can't tell you, it's best to leave it. Look for clues like lining on jackets, fakes will be poorly lined, if at all, while authentic goods always have good quality lining. Shoes will most often be leather, as will bags. Labels that are printed or embossed are bound to be fakes. School yourself on serial numbers.  Remember that if it looks cheap and poorly made, it is not authentic!

Despite its few issue with fakes and store navigation, I will definitely be visiting this store again, and scoring myself some genuine designer bargains!

Been to this store? Share your buys and shopping experience in the comments below!

Sarah Smith |

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