As online platforms extend from multi-seller marketplaces to websites solely dedicated to retailing worn-before branded apparel, we look at the changing face of sustainable fashion in the country.
Remember that designer lehenga you wore to your best friend’s wedding? The same that now lies in a corner of your wardrobe, wrapped in plastic and nostalgia, and memories of a massive credit card bill. While a lot of us make a monthly trip to flea markets to buy a bunch of affordable clothes, some of them with their label tags intact, now there’s also a way to turn your e-commerce addiction into a way of tapping into the over-brimming fashion market.
Exhibit A, a website called Rekinza, launched in March this year, that deals with second-hand clothes, bags and shoes. When you browse the site, you’ll find top brands vying for cyber shopping space, of course, on the pre-condition of being ‘pre-loved’ and on usually more than 60% discount from the originals. And the brands you’ll find there? Tommy Hilfiger, Kenneth Cole, Armani Exhange ... and even our very own Ritu Kumar, Sabyasachi and Tarun Tahiliani.
“One of our biggest concerns was that people wouldn’t want to buy something second-hand because especially in India, there’s a big stigma attached to it. But we were pleasantly surprised by the response we got,” says Vidisha Pasari, one of the founders of the website. “We offer pan-India free pickups to those who want to sell their garments, and the next step is to check them for authenticity and quality, because fashion is a niche market and quality is everything. We cut a commission on the price we ask for, and the rest of it goes to the seller. For example, we have women wanting to sell what they wore on theirengagement, and then there are those who want to own a designer piece, but are unable to do so on a budget. So it’s a win-win for both parties,” adds Pasari.
‘Tis the season of re-selling, upcycling
While there are people who’d stay away from used-before aricles, many youngsters are unafraid to indulge in the approach. Other retail portals like British website ASOS and its marketplace allows authorised sellers to re-sell, alongwith offering reclaimed vintage wear. “Well, there’s stuff in our wardrobe that we don’t wear more than once or twice. I like that these websites have laid out rules to check the hygiene of the products. Plus, these are brands we already know, of so why not,” says Capital-based Ayushi Bhasin, who is also a part of the fashion business.
Fashion goes sustainable
Sustainable fashion’s the buzzword that drives many such online enterprises, cutting the clutter of highstreet brands that are lapped up by consumers consistently. While online marketplaces have been doing it for a while, the need to indulge in fashion that curbs wastage has been felt in a big way internationally.
From British designer Tom Cridland, who offers a sweatshirt with a 30-year guarantee, to a myriad brands coming out with eco-friendly collections, buyers are becoming more conscious and maybe, more practical about what they want to go for. “Why throw away your old clothes when there is a buyer in the market? This involves upcycling and recycling clothes; it’s such a simple concept, and at the same time, helps you get over your wardrobe fatigue,” says fashion blogger Aaanchal Sukhija.
Vidisha adds that the need to re-sell links directly to that of being more conscious: “Sustainability is a major part of the initiative. What with so much textile wastage and blind-buying, the need to re-sell and buy consciously has thus become that much moreimportant.”