In the west, reality star turned business mogul Kim Kardashian is seen wearing second-hand Jean Paul Gaultier and Thierry Mugler, and auctioned off over 200 pieces from her closet on eBay for charity. However, while Alia Bhatt and other Indian celebs may be doing their bit to promote eco-friendly fashion, Indians as a general rule are averse to the idea.
Seepi opines, “In the west, this idea of wearing second-hand clothes was highlighted in the 2013 song ‘Thrift Shop’ by Macklemore, where he raps about how cool he looks in old clothes at a fraction of the cost others spent on new clothes.
Soon this trend picked up with more celebs backing the idea… else wearing used clothes is considered taboo. New, branded clothes reflect prosperity that appeals to our mindset, and few people would risk coming across as “poor” by wearing old stuff.
But we’re a hero-worshipping culture, especially in matters of Bollywood and cricket, so if Dhoni or Alia decide to make old clothes cool, it might spark a trend.”
Interestingly, she also adds, “It is worth noting that if the term ‘second-hand’ were to be replaced with ‘old’ or ‘shared’, people may accept the idea more easily since the term has a negative connotation.”
Sheetal isn’t so optimistic! She notes, “Some Indian brands have offered discounts to customers bringing in their old clothes, which is more of a marketing gimmick to boost their own sale than to promote sustainability.
We have become fond of fast fashion in the last decade and it will take years for another shift to happen. However, at Kiabza, we have found that Indian adults are open to buying used fashion when assured of quality and hygiene.”
Preeti Sharma, fashion designer, isn’t so despondent. She says, “It takes time for any new trend/ fashion movement to impact India due to its large population but when it does, it moves fast.
We are now in transition – between understanding this used fashion concept and making others follow it too through social media channels. It will take time to reach rural corners but since they still follow the concept of hand-me-downs in families, it will be easy.”
Seepi notes, “This culture can also be seen as a sharing tradition, which is why we don’t waste clothes. Despite western consumerism spreading into our culture, we are still attracted to better deals. That’s what sharing and renting old clothes is all about.”