Thrift shopping: How young Indians are taking to second-hand, pre-loved and vintage clothes

Lucille Khawbung, 21, from Churachandpur in Manipur, is your common Gen-Z. She likes trend, enjoys a very good cut price and has “bought many cute clothes I would never have the confidence to wear outside”. And like most individuals her age, she spends appreciable time on the photosharing app Instagram.

On March 25, she determined to do a closet cleanse via her Instagram web page @lulu_thrift_. She now has 7,976 followers ready for her subsequent drop. For her, Instagram is like clocking into work. Khawbung says thrifting has at all times been a part of her life, on condition that her household wasn’t very well-to-do.

She often thrifts from her native retailer — and is purchaser, vendor, worker, supervisor, photographer, mannequin and buyer relations government. “I drop a new collection every week, with conversion of `14,000– 18,000. New thrift stores coming up every day Insta makes me work harder.” Each submit is an merchandise up on the market, with its measurement, value, situation (declaring defects). Sales are finalised in feedback, fee remodeled Google Pay, PhonePe and financial institution switch with a no-return and no-cancellation coverage.

There are tons of of thrift accounts in India with related guidelines and managed by young girls. In current years, Instagram has made procuring a near-seamless expertise, spawning an limitless stream of manufacturers that solely exist on the app (“Born on Instagram”). Sandeep Bhushan, director and head, world advertising and marketing options, Facebook India, says, “Instagram is the house for passions.

It is because of this that Instagram has at all times given voice to a brand new set of creators and Instagram-first companies, who’ve embraced the platform in artistic methods. This is why 90% of individuals on Instagram observe a enterprise.” In its tenth yr, the app plans to prioritise in-app procuring. As Eva Chen, vice-president of trend partnerships at Instagram, instructed Vogue Business not too long ago the subsequent technology of customers has by no means not had slightly laptop of their hand.
Thrifting is a really 2020 part-time job and the accounts tread the non-public and the business. Most thrift accounts began by promoting private collections. Like Chandigarh-based @aurathriftstore run by sisters Anya and Adaa Lath Gupta, who began by cleansing out their and their mother’s closets.

The retailer opened in October. Within weeks, Gupta had to rent a supervisor to deal with the amount of queries and gross sales. During lockdown, they reached out to pals and household who needed to declutter and have been shocked by the response. “The thought is to choose a distinct segment. Pages develop over time.

Adaa Lath Gupta

How you model and shoot pictures matter. It’s not simply holding objects towards clean partitions,” says Anya, including that almost 90% of their clients have by no means thrifted earlier than. People’s perspective in direction of secondhand clothes as used stuff “carrying old energies” is fading away. Sustainable trend influencer Oorja Makkad says, “Social media has played the biggest role in making conversations on sustainability gain momentum. I post very often on secondhand, swapped and vintage garments, and this sparks a huge volume of queries.” Her private closet gross sales run out in minutes. She provides, “We need to focus on furthering the narrative that second-hand fashion is intelligent and representative of an elevated consciousness in the wearer.” She is utilizing all her instruments to create a notion shift for thrift.

Linno Jajo

Thrift enterprise @folkpants is run by sisters Linno and Lumri Jajo, out of Manipur and Delhi, as an area to incorporate their curiosity in trend. “At the same time,” says Linno, “it embodies the values we have learnt while growing up: our mom’s creativity and our grandparents’ knack for mending and reusing clothes.” They supply their clothes from outlets round their city Ukhrul in Manipur. Linno provides, “We want Folkpants to be a space for others — who don’t know/have access — to pre-loved or second-hand items. Post-lockdown, we get an average of 20 new stores every week requesting for a shout-out.”

Sai Sangeet Paliwal

These new companies are additionally explaining thrift to clients. Lumri says individuals usually ask them why their objects are priced excessive, at Rs 350-3,000, if these are second-hand. She says, “We take this as an opportunity to let them know about the process involved. Of going out to source clothes, restoring and cleaning them, doing shoots, interacting with customers, packing and dispatching. It is a lot of work and not as simple as reselling a hand-me-down.” Ankita Katuri, Hyderabad-based thrifter and cofounder of The Smarketers, says she has at all times loved thrifting for environmental causes and the sheer thrill of looking distinctive items. She says, “That it’s such a thriving scene in India, albeit largely on-line, is new to me.

Instagram has been a game-changer for thrift shops and even people who recognize second-hand and vintage items.” Most pages set a countdown, compelling customers to rush and purchase. She says, “It can become hard to distinguish if you bought something because you loved/wanted/needed it that much, or for ‘scoring’ a piece.” Online thrift is mirroring the offline world of a flea market. Yet, it’s extra personalised than app procuring, says sustainable way of life guide Mrudula Joshi, 25, who runs a weblog Ullisu, the place she has a tab on second-hand procuring pages. With new ones developing on a regular basis, she merely can’t sustain.

Riya Choudhary

Joshi says, “Thrifting is a great fit for people who don’t have the patience to worry about every small detail of the environment. It’s a no-brainer solution to ease the green guilt. It’s also great for people who love the rush of shopping.” What is missing? She notes that it isn’t measurement inclusive nor are there many thrift choices for males. Mumbai-based costume designer and thrift shopper Shruti Wadetiwar says the motion moved to on-line way back. She says, “While thrifting, one has to be very cautious with defects and sizing. Often the label sizing is simply too small or too massive.

A current Instagram buy, a vintage shirt, had a needle and thread nonetheless dangling from the collar button. I instructed the sellers, they apologised and supplied a reduction.” Quick response is a trademark of thrift enterprise. As Coimbatore-based Nirmala Rathi of @take2_preloved says, one unsuitable buy can flip a purchaser off the section. Rathi, 34, a chartered accountant, runs her web page as a conduit between patrons and sellers. She began by reselling her wardrobe in August 2019 and now has 10 sellers on her web page. “The hitch most people have in buying second-hand clothes is at the starting point. Thrift is a leap of faith for a buyer.”

Shruti Dhiman

By utilizing story highlights, ballot, countdown timers and feedback for bidding, the companies are clued in to the workings of Instagram. The thought is to create the sensation {that a} pal is promoting you clothes. Snigdha Gohain, 34, began @reloveit_the.retailer in January. She says, “Instagram has evolved as a social marketplace. Apart from the function of buying and selling, it gives buyers a voice, an option to share their shopping experiences and get feedback on their purchases. For sellers, the feedback mechanism is very robust.” She generates round Rs 30,000 from gross sales a month and the conversion price is shut to 75%. Gohain feels the section will see development in India.

“The new-age shoppers are not the regular mall shoppers or Amazon shoppers,” she says. It’s a small group that helps one another by way of shout-outs and story posts. It additionally has a low entry barrier — anybody with a closet can begin thrifting. Chennai-based Sruti Ashok, 29, had an offline occasion in April 2019 the place she put up clothes on the market from her household and pals’ closets. In April 2020 she launched her Instagram web page @therelovecloset to assist a The Kindness Foundation and raised Rs 7 lakh. She provides, “There’s little to no capital concerned in beginning an Instagram web page. You don’t spend on advertising and marketing.

Shruti Ashok

The work is on the backend.” The sellers even have bigger inexperienced targets in thoughts. They level out that by extending the life span of 1’s clothes by 9 extra months, one can be decreasing carbon, water and waste footprints by 20-30%. Chandigarh-based Shruti Dhiman of is a vegan and sustainability activist. She says, “The opening of new thrift stores is a good sign as it means more people are getting comfortable with the idea of secondhand clothes.” Dhiman cherishes the join along with her patrons.

“Recently, I got a message from a customer saying how a shirt in my collection brought back memories of the rococo prints her father used to get for her,” she says. For now, Instagram thrift outlets are like kiosks exterior the glitzy malls of on-line procuring. Riya Choudhary and Lakshita @ kismet.e.kheer observe that each one developments begin on social media. Nearly 54% of their patrons are from the age group 18-24 and 30% from the 25-34 age group, with solely 3% from the 35-44 age group. Says Choudhary, “From creating to styling, a business becomes much more than just an income-creating source on this platform.”

Lucille Khawbung

Dubai-based trend editor and author Sujata Assomull says, “As we rethink our shopping habits, there is not going to be a one-size-fits-all solution. The point of fashion is personal expression. For some it may be about repeating clothes, others may enjoy looking at fashion resale, then there is vintage and, in India, thanks to a strong network of tailors — upcyling.” Thrift is only one approach of being on-trend.

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