Updated May 17th, 2024 at 23:39 IST

How To Be A Thrifter? Tips To Build Your Wardrobe With Second-hand Clothes

According to ThredUp, a leading second-hand retailer, the global market for used clothes is projected to hit $351 billion by 2027.

Thrifting | Image:Pinterest
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Thrifting is a concept deeply embedded in Indian culture. Many recall inheriting clothes from siblings or parents, such as my own memories of donning my father's vintage bell-bottoms and waistcoats. This practice, now known as thrifting, has gained significant traction and mainstream acceptance in the fashion world.

According to ThredUp, a leading secondhand retailer, the global market for secondhand fashion is projected to hit $351 billion by 2027. While this surge indicates growing popularity, it also highlights challenges that can undermine the sustainability benefits of thrifting.

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Clarifying sustainable thrifting

One of the key issues in India is the definition of 'thrift.' Traditionally, it refers to pre-owned items, but many so-called thrift stores also offer overstock items purchased at sales or from street vendors. This can mislead customers who believe they are making sustainable choices, while in reality, they might be contributing to overconsumption. To maintain genuine sustainability, some brands, like Dolce Vee—founded in 2018 as a social enterprise—strictly adhere to selling only pre-owned items. Dolce Vee has even hosted sales featuring the wardrobes of celebrities like Alia Bhatt, Deepika Padukone, Virat Kohli, and Ranbir Kapoor.

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Image credit: Pinterest
Image credit: Pinterest

Fine line between thrifting and second-hand buying

Thrifting isn't limited to upscale stores; flea markets and roadside vendors also offer thrift items, often export rejects that would otherwise end up in landfills. However, many online and high-end thrift stores source their inventory from such markets and resell at a markup. While this makes thrifting more accessible, it also fuels demand for items that are essentially surplus, perpetuating a cycle of overproduction and overconsumption akin to fast fashion.

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Image credit: Pinterest
Image credit: Pinterest

Mindful thrifting practices

To be a mindful thrifter, prioritize genuinely second-hand items and focus on high-quality pieces that promise longevity. Thrifting should not only be about affordability but also about minimizing environmental impact and supporting circular fashion. Making thoughtful choices ensures that the practice remains sustainable and environmentally.

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Published May 17th, 2024 at 23:39 IST