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Sustainable Fashion: Say Yes to Thrifting?

With the raised concerns to make fashion more sustainable, thrifting has thrived over the years. If we look into the history of thrift culture, this trend has grown since the time of industrial revolution. Thrifting is one footstep towards supporting environmental sustainability. 

Thrifting has been effective in coping up with the problems caused by the fast fashion industries. It helps to reduce the outdated or unsold clothes that end up in the landfills. It relaxes the dependency on natural resources that are exploited during the processing and manufacturing of textiles. It helps to reduce the emission of harmful chemicals like nitrous oxide and other harmful pollutants with adverse effects on the environment, from the production of textiles.

Thrifting also eliminates social issues that concern the labours. It includes the unfair, exploitative, and poor working conditions of the labours working in the fast fashion industries. 

In India many thrift stores can be found in the local markets, with shop vendors selling secondhand goods. In this era of technological advancement, the shoppers are not just limited to real time shopping but they now can shop virtually too.

The internet has taken thrifting to another level, giving shoppers a whole new experience. Social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp has availed many entrepreneurs to sell their goods online. Gone are those days where the shoppers had to dig into the piles and piles of goods.  Getting the desired product now is just few clicks away. 

Thrifting also helps the small businesses flourish. Many entrepreneurs with online thrift stores work really hard to get the best product out for you. They put in extra care to give you the very best and value every contribution that you make towards this good cause. 

To understand how things work in the background, we reached out to two Instagram based thrift stores:

  1. Luu_Liu curated by two best friends hailing from Manipur, Celia SS and Janguangliu Pamei.
  2. Dodo’s Finds curated by Angelina.

Talking to the curators of Luu_liu, their business started as an idea to recycle the rarely used clothes in their closet. “We believe this is a very healthy and positive swap, from fast fashion to thrifting which is influenced by people’s concern and responsibility towards the environment.” said the curators.

As the business grew, they started sourcing the pieces from the wholesalers, handpicked local vendors, and imports from Europe which was to be exported if the pandemic hadn’t put a halt to it. When asked how profitable the business was, they replied “Obviously this is not the most profitable business. We don’t do it for the profit but rather enjoy thrifting and saving the environment at the same time.” They strive each day to grow their page and spread the habit of thrifting.

Dodo’s Finds also shared a similar story. The curator first started the business to sell a few of the spare clothes she had but later found it as a space to earn value from her artwork too.

She has retailed many handpainted custom jackets and tops. When asked about the source she replied “When I started, it was just a lot of searching at flea markets. But now I have eventually developed connections and have suppliers.

But I still look into racks and piles of clothes at the market to find the best pieces. After sourcing, they’re disinfected, photographed, processed, uploaded, sold, cleaned again, and shipped.

I always followed nifty thrifty YouTubers and always wondered why it was so hard to find similar clothes here in India. The answer was, they were all hidden in plain sight and only needed searching. The clothes I found inspired me to keep looking and start a thrift store.” she added. In the future, she has plans to open a website to give shoppers an even better experience and has been looking forward to importing vintage goods. 

Thrifting online indeed is convenient but it’s not for the faint hearted. With shoppers booking products in fraction of seconds, one is left with increased blood pressure and regret for not being able to bag the product first. Be it for clothes, accessories or some vintage goods, thrift shopping now is a race definitely made for the adrenaline junkies. The thought of being the only one to bag the product out of many who were after it, seems to satisfy the shoppers more than the product itself. Finding good products at a lower price and competing with many to bag it feels like winning the grand prize at some competition. This is what makes thrifting online more exciting and enjoyable. 

Thrifting now has become a lifestyle for many. It goes easy on the wallet along with added benefits of it being environment conscious. It is a great opportunity for all of us to contribute to reducing the negative impact that we have on the environment. So why not say a big yes to thrifting? 

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