When Sruti Ashok started her venture The ReLove Closet during the first lockdown, she never thought her online thrift shop would gain popularity in the past year.
“I started the online venture as a fundraiser for COVID relief in 2020. The initiative is currently selling a curated collection of pre-loved luxury and vintage treasures all over the country. Before the pandemic, we didn’t have many thrift shops in India. But now, we do have a lot of online and physical thrift shops across the country. There are two aspects to why people chose to thrift. The first one would be going eco-friendly — many wanted to step away from buying brand new clothes to save the environment. The second aspect is that we sell pre-loved luxury products at a huge discount. You cannot get Chanel, Christian Louboutin, Gucci, Jimmy Choo products for such a low price. The demand is high among first-time thrifters,” notices Sruti Ashok.
The young entrepreneur says that the sales have doubled over the year. “Earlier, people weren’t open as they are today. But now many don’t mind buying preloved clothes and other products. This trend is here to stay and I hope more people come forward and buy pre-loved clothes, she adds.
Divya Sridharan and Aarthy Suren started the online thrift store The Archive Factory way before the pandemic happened in the hope to start thrifting as a new way of shopping clothes. Co-founder Divya tells DT Next, “We should be talking and pushing for the idea of shopping from each other’s closets rather than looking for brands to shop from. I am in the US and have seen thrifting be a thing of the present for a very long time in the states. Everyone loves and appreciates shopping second-hand a lot more but that was not the case in India. We had a few consignment stores here and there for vintage items but thrifting had not taken a wave yet. So we decided to tap into that industry so people can see what’s out there, how even being second-hand can be so beautiful with an added perk of how this will be a revolution in the fast fashion industry.”
Being a fashion blogger, Divya has seen the downside of the effects of what clothes have on the environment now more than ever. “This is the best way to make people see how thrifting can be sustainable in the long run while also being extremely stylish. It’s also very unique to have clothes that only you will own if you buy from these stores. It’s not like 10 other pieces that you would pick from off the rack and we love that concept. We thought it would be a bit more difficult to push this narrative in India as second-hand clothes are frowned upon in our country for some reason. But to our surprise, we found a huge community that was just as interested in saving the environment while being stylish at the same time just as much as we did,” she smiles.
The duo is hoping to reach more people and believes that this is going to be the next big thing in the fashion industry in India.