Younger stems of society have embarked on a new wave of revolution, and like most, this revolution is also for a better future. Someone saying, “Yes, I wear thrifted clothes,” and running a thrift store could have been looked down upon in the past as Indian culture has not been receptive to second-hand clothing. But with the aesthetic visuals of Instagram, growth potential as a solopreneur, and easy entry into the business, this belief has flipped on its head. Looks like the times are changing.
Thrifting, a word recently added to the fashion game of Indian Instagramers, is no more alien to us as it has opened a new avenue for solopreneurs in India. Fashion has always struggled to find a balance between sustainability and being on the trend. The culture of thrifting is booming in India today, on and off physical racks, because the consumers are changing.
Aashi, who runs a thrift page on Instagram, says that the curve toward sustainable living started during the pandemic. Say what you may, but if there is anything that came as a blessing in disguise, then it is this…The urge to live sustainably. “Many second-hand or surplus clothes reselling businesses popped up during the pandemic.
Affordability is another major factor in people choosing to thrift,” she added. Thrifting in India is majorly done by sourcing second-hand or surplus pieces of clothing. After the clothes are sourced, they are washed and ironed. Once the clothes make it to the influencers’ page, customers start booking the items through comments and messages on their profiles. Later, shop owners coordinate with the delivery companies to ship packages. Though customers prefer Cash On Delivery as the mode of payment, digital payment is what the sellers prefer in India, says Aashi.
Thrift stores’ online pre-announce drops every week so that customers stay aware of the clothing that is going to come up on a page. The thrift store owners mention the measurements, price, and the time of the drop for the customers’ convenience. Many young entrepreneurs, who are around the age group of 18- 35, find thrift stores a lucrative business.
Payel, who buys her clothes from Sarojini Market in New Delhi for her thrift store, explains why it is important to follow a strict hygiene process in a thrift store. “We are a team of three, who are passionate about fashion and sustainable living. After we source the clothes, we individually vet them and only list the items that pass our guidelines. We like to be transparent with the condition of every item. Even if the stitching is amiss, we mention that in the caption. I am particular that we give proper measurements so that none of our customers are delivered with the wrong size.” She added that the thrift community should never compromise on the quality of the product delivered as it would only help get more customers.
Most of the thrift stores in India make sure that they select clothing that has been minimally worn to ensure their customer gets a good quality product, even if it is second-hand clothing. In simpler terms, thrifting helps in giving clothing and other accessories a second life and saving them from getting dumped in landfill.
However, since the purchase is not physical, the chances of people duping are high. Make sure that you do your research before purchasing from thrift stores online. Some of the things that one should keep in mind before thrifting is being aware of the damage and how it reflects on the price, and what the return policy is as most thrift pages do not accept returns, and measurements, among others.
She Writer Dr. Sailaja is an enabling HR leader and sustainable practices enthusiast.