The pandemic has changed the age old, shabby and worn out image of secondhand fashion and encouraged young Indian fashionistas to embrace pre-worn or used clothes. A report by The Times of India shows, Indian market for secondhand clothes is expected to grow 185 per cent over the next 10 years with many global brands jumping on the secondhand bandwagon. Gucci plans to enter the resale market through its partnership with the The RealReal while denim brand Levi’s launched a buyback program known as Levi’s Secondhand to encourage circular fashion. The economic downturn, brought in by the pandemic, is also boosting demand for secondhand fashion amongst Indians.
Changing trend for seconds
Namrata Iyer, Designer, Illustrator and Founder, The Local Thrift, believes, secondhand fashion has always been in demand in India with Instagram shops and garage sales existing even before 2020. The pandemic has intensified its significance with young consumers increasingly moving towards responsible fashion. She feels, thrift garments are unique in style, and can help reduce the number of discarded garments. The trends in secondhand fashion also change according to seasons. Stores often have their own hot selling items, dictated by market trends. For instance, earlier, corsets and lingerie were most commonly sold. Now, lighter clothing is more in demand.
New launches, social media spurring demand
Asenla Jamir, Founder and Creative Director, Otsü Clothing Co, attributes the growing popularity of secondhand fashion to shutting down of trendy and reasonable fashion shopping sites. Jamir says secondhand clothing are reasonable compared to other big brands. Her brand upcycles Naga textiles and rescued fabrics to create new shirts, skirts, blazer/jackets, pants, and dresses. This helps reduce mass production, social impact, and environmental wastage and helps promote its own individual and unique styles. The brand also re-uses rescued fabrics in its designs.
Actress Evelyn Sharma has also launched a range of upcycled garments called Seams for Dreams. The owner of a fashion charity foundation says lesser incomes, limited access to retail stores and several other restrictions are driving more consumers to secondhand clothing as they reduce their consumption of fast fashion.
Social media has also helped catalyze demand for secondhand clothes in India, adds Iyer. She cites the example of Instagram which dedicates several pages dedicated to designers and homegrown labels dealing in secondhand clothes. Platforms like these also help consumers across the globe stay connected with each other and promote thrifting/circular/secondhand fashion, adds Asenla.