'Pre-loved' is good

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'Pre-loved' is good

A  closet full of clothes of which some still have tags on, some are barely worn and some that lie forgotten. And every morning, we wake up staring blankly into the closet’s abyss, stating ominously, ‘I have nothing to wear!’ When time comes to do the annual ‘spring cleaning’ for the closets, we perhaps stand perplexed as to what to do.

And this is where platforms that sell second-hand ‘gently used’ clothes come into play. “We realised that the real problem is not that one doesn’t have clothes to wear — the real problem is that one has too many clothes that they don’t love right now,” says Aboli Salvi, founder, ShareWardrobe.

Often, second-hand or ‘pre-loved’ clothes gives us the image of worn out ot ragged clothes. In fact, it is quite the contrary. While buying second-hand clothes has created a substantial market share in the form of several thrift shops and online platforms, the trend is slowly catching up in India.

“The trend is definitely upward and it’s going to evolve and grow as customers become more accepting towards pre-owned fashion, creating a collaborative economy where people will sell their clothes instead of sending them to landfills,” elaborates Nikita Agarwal, who co-founded Once Again with Umang Chordia. This system allows one to refresh their closet and earn money for the next purchase and also get access to brands that are not necessarily available in India, explains Umang.

Upcyling apparel

Many of these platforms began with one sole purpose — giving a new lease of life to clothes that were hardly being used and repurposing them for a new user who may need them. As result, they act as a common channel for their buyers and sellers. Furthermore, by engaging in a proactive method of sharing clothes, such a market promotes sustainability and lessens the impact that the clothing industry puts on the environment.

Did you know that it takes 20,000 litres of water to produce a single t-shirt and a pair of jeans? “By upcycling fashion, we help increase the life span of clothes and thus, help in reducing some carbon footprint on our already burdened planet,” adds Aboli of ShareWardrobe. “This way, you can create more space for your new clothes, make quick cash and go green,” says Amna Abbasi, CEO of Etashee, an online platform for second-hand clothing.

Even though this concept is relatively new in India, the attitude towards buying second-hand clothes is slowly changing. After all, it is just an extension of what was being done in our homes earlier — giving away clothes that we outgrew to our younger cousins and siblings. “While the younger generation doesn’t have a mental block in owning pre-owned fashion, they (our customers) just want to know if the clothes are in good condition before buying them,” explains Umang.

With many of the online sites offering lucrative deals, the consumption and buying power of an individual increases. As a result, one has bought far too many before it hits them. And sharing one’s wardrobe with others is the only thing that can bring complete pleasure.

“Once the consumption phase is over, people would definitely like to share their goods. Eventually, sharing of goods makes complete sense and people will realise it once they get full satisfaction,” explains Yash Jaiswal, business head, Etashee. So, this acts as a win-win situation for both the buyer and the seller.

So, what are the things that are looked into before a second-hand clothing goes for sale? While some look out for specific high-end brands like Mango, Zara, Tommy Hilfiger and the like, what remains constant is their stringent quality checks. Only once it has passed their various checks, are the products put up or listed for sale. “Every product is inspected for quality and sanitised before it reaches the buyer,” says Aditi Rohan, one of Elanic’s co-founders. 

Zapyle, another platform that sells pre-loved clothes takes extreme care before a product gets listed. “We control who can sell through our platform. Before each seller is given the permissions to sell on our platform, a significant amount of effort goes into verifying each seller. This involves background checks, lengthy discussions and quality checks,” says Rashi Menda, CEO of Zapyle.

“Until now, there were no avenues to sell or rent them. We had no way of optimally using the resources we had by letting others use it, and as an added bonus, we earn some quick bucks too,” adds Sahyujyah Shrinivas, founder of Liberent, an online platform where you can rent your outfits. And this new trend is not just limited to clothes — bags, jewellery, furniture and other things are also being sold second-hand on various platforms.

So, are you looking to buy or sell second-hand clothes but don’t know your way around? Well, here are a few things to keep in mind before you put something up for sale:

 While listing your clothes for buying, keep the price realistic. Consider if you would buy it for the price you are listing it for and then put it up. While choosing your price, keep in mind various factors like how often you have worn it, the damages and stains if any as well.

 The key is in the details. So, add all the important and defining characteristics that can be seen, such as logos or an eye-catching pattern. Also, include information on the workmanship, material, comfort and its maintenance.

 Attach good quality pictures to enable the potential buyer know how it would look like. Take the photo in a monochromatic background in daylight or sufficient artificial lighting.

 One of the most important things to mention are the garment’s measurements. Ensure that it is correctly listed, as any untoward mistake can cost you.

 If you are unsure as to what sort of clothes to put for sale, skip the clothes that you have had tailored and form-fitting clothes as well. Clothes that are free flowing like tunics and maxi dresses are more likely to get picked up.

And before you buy anything, here are a few things to watch out for:

 As most of these sites host a variety of international brands, ensure you take a look at their sizing chart and the size listed for the garment.

 Keep an open mind while you peruse the site and check out what they can
offer you before you think that they don’t have what you want. Chances are that you might find something similar and perhaps at a good deal too.

 Look out for the different kinds of material that are being offered. Materials like leather last longer as opposed to materials like cotton, knitwear and polywears, which show wear and tear easily.

 Know if the platform has a return policy. Some may have it, some might not. So, understand the website’s policies before you make your purchase.

 Although the clothes that are put up go through a stringent quality and authenticity checks, rinse the clothes once before you start using them.

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