Thrift shopping of clothes is being embraced both by customers and brands, and Instagram has become the place where this exchange takes place.

Pre-owned and upcycled clothes sold by Indian thrift brandsInstagram/ ThriftChicByTrish, GoodKarma.treasureshop
Features Fashion Thursday, February 17, 2022 - 11:20

Over the past couple of years, people have become more aware of the negative impact of fast fashion on the environment – the greenhouse gas emissions from the factories, the water used to mass-produce clothes and the mountains of clothing that are thrown away every year. Thrifting, the practice of buying and selling pre-owned or upcycled items, especially clothing, has become popular among people who want to do their bit to move away from buying fast fashion. This is also a great way to update your wardrobe when you’re on a budget.

As thrift shopping of clothes is being embraced both by customers and brands, social media has become the place where this exchange takes place. Here are some Instagram-based thrift stores that offer a range of clothing from everyday wear and boho to formal and partywear.

Thrift Culture, Chennai

Known for its pre-loved western wear for women, Thrift Culture. Chennai was co-founded by Priyanka (30), and Pratibha (27) in May 2020. Formal wear including skirts and shirts, as well as casual dresses and tunics are among the shop’s fast-selling products. “The core idea is to promote circulation of used clothes in the market, and make people more comfortable with buying second-hand clothes,” Priyanka tells TNM. She hopes that this will reduce impulse purchases of seasonal clothes and people will become more mindful about not promoting fast fashion. “We also donate a part of our sales to a charity of our choosing,” she adds.

Explaining how their online store works, Priyanka says they have a network of people and markets that provide second-hand clothes in good condition. The clothes are procured and cleaned. After this, they are photographed and the images uploaded so that customers can view the designs on offer and buy.

ThriftchicbyTrish

Printed scarf tops and chic cowl neck blouses feature in ThriftchicbyTrish’s summer collection ‘The Summer Babe Edit’, while the ‘The Boho Capsule Wardrobe Tops’ boasts of vibrant blouses and embroidered tunics. The Instagram store has gained popularity among its customers for its eclectic mix of vintage and trendy clothes that are curated based on a theme or ahead of special occasions. Other collections include, ‘The Black and White Edit’, ‘The Cloud Bag Edit’ and ‘The Valentine’s Day Special’.

The founder of the brand, Trisha Reddy shares that she initially started selling products from her own wardrobe, but soon started collecting pieces from friends, family and local suppliers to turn ThriftchicbyTrish into an environmentally responsible multi-seller platform. The Hyderabad-based Instagram brand was started in January 2021 during the pandemic. Trisha reveals that although the pandemic came with its difficulties, people’s reliance on social media was hugely beneficial for her venture. 

“Through social media, I got to sell to customers located in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai. The promotional and marketing tools offered by Instagram have also been effective to widen reach,” she says.

She also stresses that her online store follows all hygiene and sanitation methods when it comes to cleaning the products they sell. “We dry clean the clothes, disinfect the packaging, and handle all products with gloves and use sanitizer spray,” Trisha says.

As for future plans, Trisha says that she is interested in starting a physical store in Hyderabad.  “I would like to diversify more into gender-neutral and men’s clothing, include upcycled clothes and sell a range of accessories like jewellery and shoes,” she adds.

Alamara, The Thrift Store

Kerala-based drummer and music producer Ganesh and his wife, Gowry Lekshmi, who is a playback singer and composer, are popular for their music. But a lesser-known fact about them is that they started an online thrift brand in 2020. “The idea came to us during the pandemic when we did not have our regular stage gigs. We are also inclined towards being environmentally responsible,” Ganesh tells TNM. The products sold on Alamara include clothes, accessories and books. Although the brand sells clothing for both men and women, they have more products catering to female customers.

“Our packaging is completely plastic-free and we use old newspapers with our brand’s stamp to give it an authentic touch. And we donate a percentage of our profits towards rescue and spaying of street dogs,” Ganesh adds.

Bangalore Thrifts

Nineteen-year-old Shreyas and Vidhi co-founded the online store Bangalore Thrifts. They say it is not just a medium to facilitate thrifting but is also a forum to promote vintage culture, namely, letterman jackets and offbeat and rare graphic tees, to name a few. Shreyas says that the online store sources products from markets in Delhi and the northeastern parts of the country where there is a good supply of these vintage clothing. He also adds that some pieces are imported.

“Customers still have the mentality of looking at thrifted and vintage clothes as second-hand, but many are one-of-a-kind pieces that are unique and have their own story,” Shreyas says.

Apart from focusing on vintage pieces, Shreyas says that he would like to shift attention towards increasing supply. “One thing that is evident is that we have more demand than supply at the moment. We only have a few pieces of a particular design,” he adds.

Good Karma Treasure Shop

Goa’s Good Karma Treasure Shop is among a handful of thrift stores in India that have a physical outlet. Founded by Vijaya Josephine Pais in 2016, the store has a variety of products ranging from clothes, shoes and accessories to home-décor and furniture. Bohemian overalls, minimalistic dresses, and shimmery sequin tops; Good Karma Treasure Shop’s Instagram feed is filled with unique pieces. There is also a special line of baby and children’s products.

Speaking to TNM about the curation, Vijaya says, “Schulen Fernandes, the former creative head of the Wendell Rodricks label is on board as our creative head. She is very passionate about promoting sustainable fashion and upcycling is definitely on the cards, with fashion and design being her core competency. We have a line of upcycled accessories at the moment.”

An offbeat Goa initiative, the sustainable business donates 25% of its profits to local NGOs every month. Elaborating on how the brand is built on eco-friendly lines, Vijaya says, “We do get clothes from fast fashion brands as part of the donations we receive, but the fact that these clothes get an elongated lifespan is a good thing. We even try to upcycle the clothes that are unsuitable for sale. The clothes that can't be sold are donated to animal shelters or other NGOs that require scrap fabric. So, everything gets used and nothing goes to waste.”  Being located in Goa, the store’s customer base includes a fair share of both domestic and international travellers, along with locals.

Other Indian thrifting brands

>According to the brand’s website, The Cause Wear is a non-profit initiative that donates proceeds from sales to organisations that work towards the upliftment of neglected communities

>Oh Scrap Madras specialises in redesigning fabric waste, upcycling, and offers solutions to textile waste problems

>Copper Boom Vintage promotes gender-neutral clothing

>Disco Very Culture focuses on bringing back disco fashion

>Folk Pants is known for its minimalistic designs

>Panda Picked Store is popular for its unique prints

> Curvy thrift India curates size-inclusive clothing

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