If you love nothing better than a good rummage through racks of vintage clothes and boxes of second-hand goodies, then the Rag Trade Market is the place for you.
On the third Saturday of every month, this little trash’n’treasure market can be found in the gallery and events space of popular café 1000 £ Bend, smack bang in the middle of the CBD. Bags, boots, jewellery, fur coats, knitted cardigans, silky blouses, floral skirts – a myriad of second-hand bric-a-brac awaits you here. And what you find depends on how thoroughly you search.
Rag Trade is brought to you by the same people behind the Carlton Eclectic Vintage and Design Market. Their philosophy also applies to Rag Trade – to recreate the vibe of the famous Camberwell Sunday Market in the inner city. But with its flea-market-meets-old-fashioned-garage-sale feel, the smaller and more intimate Rag Trade has taken on its own unique character. Catchy tunes play over the loudspeaker as patrons hunt for bargains in what used to be a motorbike repair garage. And when the afternoon of searching or selling is over, the cushioned seats of the 1000 £ Bend café – only a few steps away – beckons enticingly as a place to unwind with a well-deserved coffee or snack.
The items sold at Rag Trade generally range in price from $5 to $20, although many owners are happy to engage in a bit of friendly haggling if so inclined. Make sure to bring cash with you. Unfortunately there is no area designated as a change room to try on potential purchases. However, during my visit, I found many stallholders were willing and trusting enough to let you take their items into the bathrooms to try on.
While most of the stalls sell second-hand wares, a few tables were also devoted to handicrafts such as candles and handmade decorations. One of my favourite stalls was by the “Cupcaketeer”, Maria Yebra. Quirky and creative, her cupcakes are also terribly addictive. If you’re a chocolate addict like me, make sure you try the triple chocolate “robot” cupcake ($4) – moist and oh-so rich, it’s guaranteed to satisfy any sweet tooth.
Running out of valuable wardrobe space? Rag Trade is also the perfect way to offload all that unworn and unwanted junk – and make a bit of money from it too. A trestle table (which is provided for you) costs $45. And if you want to bring a clothing rack or two to better display your wares, this will set you back another $40. Clothing racks are not provided. Applications for stall space are made through Rag Trade’s facebook page.
So what are the future plans for Rag Trade? Bustling about taking photos and chatting with customers and stallholders alike was Melissa Pineda – the new coordinator of Rag Trade. She said that although Rag Trade currently has more of a focus on second-hand clothes and accessories, she hopes to eventually introduce some DIY workshops for a more fun and interactive feel. Melissa is also the coordinator of the successful Bend and Snap Market, a design, art and clothing market that is also held at 1000 £ Bend.
Whether you are dying to find that ultimate bargain, or a hoarder trying to reform, Rag Trade is bound to delight. Although smaller and without the incredible variety of the Camberwell Sunday Market, Rag Trade has its own unique and intimate feel that will make the third Saturday of each month a regular in your calendar.
This article originally appeared on Weekendnotes, first published on 19 May 2013.