"I started thrifting because of the unique clothes I could get in thrift stores. As a fashion student, my main motive was to get clothes that weren’t available in the regular markets and decided to make the switch,” says Arushi, owner of Wrinkled Thrift on Instagram. Thrift stores have become a recent trend online in metropolitan cities of India .They are fashionable, unique, and cheap on the pocket while also being deemed as the ‘sustainable option’ compared to fast fashion brands. Thrifting is not a new trend in India. The reuse of secondhand or clothes passed on by big brands is something that we often get to engage within the street markets of India, be it, Sarojini Nagar, in Delhi or Linking Road in Mumbai. However, the recent popularity of thrift stores online has unlocked a new audience and has the potential to start taking away business from fast fashion brands like H&M or Zara.
Arushi shared how her interest in thrifting developed, which led her to start her online store. She said, “I started my store three months back as a closet cleanse ,but now it has become a successful operation run out of my house. Currently, I am trying to make my packaging environmentally friendly and reducing plastic in my parcels.” Like her, manypeople who got into thrifting because of cheap and unique clothes are now in it for the sustainability factor. Consumption is a massive contributor to the thrift store’popularity, as many customers redirect their attention to thrift stores and their affordable yet charming products compared to the rising prices of traditional clothing stores.
The rise of thrifting in recent years could also be attributed to influencers on social media platforms uploading content showcasing their collection of pre-loved clothes from local secondhand stores ,thereby turning this into an internet trend, motivating their fans to follow in their footsteps by digging into the world of thrifting.
While thrift stores are cheaper, how unique are they? The resale of clothes provides an option for actual use before disposing off . It meets the needs of many and still provides for uniqueness instead of the same looks. Thrifting may not provide us with a zero-waste plan, but it gives you a sliver of how things can change for the better. Currently, fashion is one of the most intense industries in the world, with a labor force as large as 161.0 million ,according to the Global fashion industry statistics published by FashionUnited. The fashion industry produces 10%
Therefore, fast fashion has a terrible impact on the environment as it leads to a vicious cycle of mismanaged waste and excess production, and many studies suggest that while the Thrift Industry is still far from perfect, it is a decent alternative. Apart from its environmental benefits, thrifting also has a positive societal impact as these establishments frequently raise funds for various causes ,and customers are able to donate articles, allowing them to serve as more sustainable instead of discarding those clothes.
Even though it is a healthier alternative, it is not the best one because the fashion industry needs to reform itself. Thrifting cannot undo the detrimental impacts of fashion on the environment. If anything, it is only a small step in the right direction. Genuienelysustainable fashion can only be achieved if people stop investing in fashion altogether. Until then thrifting is the need of the hour since every purchase one makes supports sustainability ideals. Individual impact matters, but only a small difference can be made overall if companies and industries refuse to change.
Edited by Himanya Chadha and Kriti Soneja