Edited by Nidhi Munot
A disruption of usual routines and daily life brought on by the global pandemic has inspired people to explore their creative and entrepreneurial sides, leading to the mushrooming of thrift shops on online platforms, especially Instagram. This has proven a great relief for those of us who have been managing with just a week’s worth of outfits for the past few months (RIP all the clothes we left on campus). “Limited edition, let’s do some simple addition”—thrift shops make rare and trendy pieces available at affordable prices.
With aesthetic visuals that appeal to the audience, Instagram is the perfect platform to showcase entrepreneurial ventures. ‘Thriftstagrams’ sell a variety of products, ranging from preloved clothing, vintage and upcycled fashion, accessories like sunglasses to curated and handpicked vintage pieces. These online thrift stores select a certain time for when they drop their collection, and the followers can choose to be notified about the time. The admins of the page put up posts which contain the details of each piece, including the size, original price, the price they’re being sold at, and even the number of times it has been worn. Those interested in purchasing a particular piece place the order by either commenting on the post or DMing the page, on a first-come-first-serve basis. Popular pieces usually get sold out within hours. The payments are made via bank transfer or UPI. Nominal shipping charges are also added depending on location.
It is a known fact the fast fashion industry is one of the leading contributors to climate change. With a growing concern for the environment, people have long embraced sustainable alternatives to fashion, thrift shops being one of them. Instagram has helped make thrift shopping accessible to all, allowing people to wear apparel from fast fashion brands like H&M, Zara, Forever 21 and Shein without actually contributing to the wasteful mass production. While the cheap prices may encourage people to engage in careless consumerism, thereby defeating the very purpose of thrift shopping, it’s important to strike a balance between using thrift shops for retail therapy and only purchasing things you actually need. Most thrift shops carry out shipping across the country but keeping in mind the extremely high carbon footprint of shipping, it’s best to find thrift store accounts that are based out of your own city or town, to make the process of thrifting more sustainable.
According to 7BillionFor7Seas, the fast fashion industry produces over 1 billion garments annually, and it is estimated that nearly half of them end up in landfills within a year. Buying from thrift shops is a great way to increase the lifespan of clothes by keeping them out of landfills, and to reduce the demand for new clothes. “One man’s trash, that’s another man’s come up”- clothes that one person has outgrown or is bored of wearing might appeal to someone else. Thrifting also gives you the opportunity to expand your fashion choices and experiment with different styles. Each page has something for everyone, with products in different sizes and even gender-neutral outfits. Personalised, plastic-free packaging is another plus point of thrift stores. With products of decent quality up for grabs at significantly marked-down prices, the economic benefits of thrifting are evident. Budget-friendly fashion is much-needed for college students living off of their parents’ money.
Instagram thrift stores help create a community of like-minded individuals and help you surround yourself with content that advocates for sustainable behaviour. Overall, thrifting inspires one to change their materialistic consumer mindset and adopt more sustainable lifestyle changes, like recycling, repairing, upcycling and DIY methods.
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis were right, this is F**king awesome (for both the environment and your wallet!)