The pandemic has wrecked a lot of things.
My college life, daily routine, sleep schedule (it was already terrible who am I kidding), but another thing it has surprisingly managed, is my money.
I remember going out to pick out pretty clothes from places like Sarojini Nagar, best known for their export surplus- trendy, slightly defective clothes that you can buy for cheap and then keep your fingers crossed that those “Levi’s” pants don’t tear when you bow down to the lords (and pick up the shards of your dignity).
Lately, I’ve been breaking my bank because of these new stores on Instagram that sell thrift articles of clothing.
Traditionally, thrift stores referred to places of business that sell second-hand items.
With the rising market for affordable, unique clothing however, it has also come to include upcycled clothing and export surplus i.e., clothes sourced from the same markets you’d visit for cheap items (Sector 22 anyone?).
Export Surplus implies the extra/defective pieces manufactured by brands, that have been rejected.
These factories typically increase their production by 3-5% in order to ensure they have the required number of usable items after the quality check takes place. Then the rejects are sold to the vendors who sell to us.
However, with the onset of the virus, it has become impossible for one to physically buy them. Enter Instagram businesses.
These retailers now sell to e-thrift stores, which then have ‘drops’ on their page, with select items being sold off to their online audience. The items are still largely affordable, due to their brand being ‘thrift stores’.
As established, the export surplus is plainly just the products of fast fashion that have unfortunately not made it to mainstream media. Despite fast fashion is a large problem, these markets allow willing buyers to invest in the product and make use of the reject piles, thus reducing the overall waste margin.
However, that is but a dent in the shipwreck that is fast fashion. Problems like exploited labor, environmental degradation, rising costs, and shutting down of small-scale businesses still persist.
Let it not deter you, however, from exploring these businesses. Given the vast number of defective pieces, buying from such stores allows you to help reduce the unbelievable amount of discarded clothing.
The sheer demand for such items verifies the need for such ventures.
Instagram pages like luu_liu_, thrift India, Folkpants and the slow cat store (formerly Mumbai Thrifts), Khakhali shop, among many others, are providing a platform to these retailers while also maintaining their customer base.
While straining from fast fashion is not a walk in the park, instead of buying from these huge brands, dealing with the consequences of such trends is a measure that can be managed.
Go on then, earn that scratch card on Google Pay.
This post was written by Manya, IIIrd Year.