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Why you should beg, borrow and flaunt preloved clothes

The global secondhand apparel market is exploding. But people are still not comfortable telling others about their preloved purchases

Clothes displayed at a Chinese fashion brand Shein pop-up store in Paris on 4 May
Clothes displayed at a Chinese fashion brand Shein pop-up store in Paris on 4 May (AFP)

We are in 2023, everyone seems to be living for Instagram. We have a daily bombardment of content creators and celebrities dressed in always something new. 

But is it really new? Did you know that most celebrities don’t own the clothes they flaunt in their social media posts? They are actually sample pieces loaned, borrowed or sourced from designers and labels that were seen on the runway or brand campaigns.  

Many celebrities, from Sonam Kapoor Ahuja to Zendaya, proudly wear archival (read secondhand) garments used earlier to star-studded events, indirectly stating that it’s perfectly fine to borrow and wear preloved garments. What's more, fashion queens like Victoria Beckham and Kate Moss have made it cool to repeat their red carpet looks. 

Also read: Why the future of fashion is preloved

Beyond the celebrity circles, more people in India and abroad are buying pre-loved clothes and accessories, vintage or not, especially with increased conversation around conscious consumption. However, while people abroad openly announce their love for preloved items, most back home keep it all hush-hush. 

We need to be more vocal about wearing secondhand clothes. It's not just cool to buy preloved clothes. It also helps save the planet, simply because you are repeating clothes that are already in the system.

The world creates over 90 million tonnes of textiles waste each year. According to non-profit Global Fashion Agenda, by 2030, we will be discarding more than 130 million tonnes of textiles annually. It's high-time we checked our fashion consumption patterns. 

Second-hand fashion is one of the ways we can fight the problem of textile waste. And the good news is that the secondhand market is growing worldwide, allowing consumers access to cool unique pieces without breaking the bank and helping them reduce their carbon footprint. 

Globally, the secondhand apparel market is expected to grow 127% by 2026, states a recent report by thredUP, an online consignment and thrift store. Clearly, a lot of people are invested in pre-loved items. It's time we become more open about the love affair.

If more people will talk about owing pre-loved pieces, more shoppers will explore, if not buy, products that are pre-owned. 

Also read: Five thrift stores for preloved baby clothes, toys and more

Shehlina Soomro is founder of Saritoria.

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