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Discover south Canberra’s hidden gem of an upmarket op-shop

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Find a bargain, help the environment, and support important community initiatives at the Communities@Work’s Best Dressed Store at South.Point.

We all know it by now—fast fashion is all kinds of no good. Buying cheap and poor-quality clothes creates a huge amount of bulk waste which heads straight to landfill, plus their production is responsible for a staggering amount of carbon emissions worldwide. Then there are the issues with your money potentially supporting overseas sweatshops, unsafe working conditions and cheap labour.

But we’ve all got to dress. So, what’s one to do when they need a bit of a wardrobe update, but want to support a more ethically conscious option?

Of course, op-shopping is a great way to help break the fast fashion cycle. And it’s not only a great way to find a bargain (or three) and reduce the strain on your own wallet.

While you’re looking great in your new glad rags, in some cases, the money you spent on your outfit is sometimes channelled straight back into the community, to do even more good.

Like in the case of Communities@Work’s Best Dressed Store at South.Point Tuggeranong. The store is a treasure trove of high quality, pre-loved, special occasion and work-ready clothes and accessories, with prices starting at $5.

The store first came about because of Communities@Work’s clothing program, which supports people experiencing hardship. The program helps people to take positive steps by providing an outfit for circumstances such as job interviews, where they need to look well put together and feel confident.

In the case of someone being successful at the interview, the program can also supply a week’s worth of work outfits for free. The clothes themselves are all in great condition and are donated by the Canberra community.

“What we were finding is that we actually had too many clothes just for the clothing program, because Canberra’s support of the program was just so amazing and continues to be. So, we used to do sales of excess clothes every now and again. And then we got to the point where we partnered with South.Point to open up a shop,” says Ruth Zanker, Director for Social Programs (Support Services), from Communities@Work.

These days, the clothing program is still running and supporting a wide range of people, and all excess items are then funneled into the Best Dressed Store.

Stock is entirely made up of donated items from the Canberra community, and they have to meet the clothing program and Best Dressed Store’s high-quality standards—around 15 per cent of the Best Dressed Store’s stock is even brand new.

“As one of the few upmarket op shops in Canberra, we pride ourselves on maintaining a high standard of quality and product and even stock a wide range of fashion labels,” says Ruth.

“In-store you can find work clothes, and you can find up-market smart casual clothes as well. Every now and again you may also find a gorgeous formal dress or even a wedding dress.”

Items that don’t quite make the cut are also repurposed and channelled into other avenues, like supporting fellow local not-for-profit organisation Koomarri, which supports people living with a disability.

As for the funds raised from clothing sales, they go straight towards buying food and other essential supplies for the Communities@Work’s community pantry which provides these essentials to those experiencing financial hardship.

“The proceeds from the Best Dressed Store go straight into our food budget for our community pantries. We buy pallets of food from Foodbank NSW & ACT each week, which stock our pantries,” says Ruth.

“The community pantries in Tuggeranong and Gungahlin then provide heavily discounted and free food, hygiene and household goods to over 50 households each weekday. So it’s a really nice, circular support process.”


What: Communities@Work’s Best Dressed Store
Where: The store is located at South.Point Shopping Centre in Tuggeranong. It’s at shop 20 which is downstairs from the Woolworths entrance on Anketell Street, next to Alliance Bank
When: Open Monday to Saturday, various hours. Closed on Sundays
Website: For more information, click here


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