Your Guide to the Best Ethical & Mindful Thrift Stores in India  

Did you know 94 tonnes of textile waste is discarded globally every year? Thrifting has evolved through the years, shifting to online platforms accessed by all but the idea remains the same, shopping with the purpose of being kinder to the environment.
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Are you a fan of great and inexpensive fashion that is easily accessible and entirely ethical and sustainable? In a technologically forward world, it’s become easier to be conscious of your choices and practice ethical shopping through the medium of Instagram. Thrift shopping, essentially a way of keeping old and discarded clothing out of landfills, reducing our collective carbon footprint, and promoting a circular fashion culture that drifts away from fast fashion, has gathered momentum over social media platforms, being the frontline runners of slow fashion in India.  

While thrifting secondhand clothing is looked down upon, thrift shopping is actually a way of being kinder to the planet. By 2030, 134 tonnes of textile waste is expected to be discarded every year. As per the Indian Textile Journal, textile waste is also the third-largest source of municipal solid waste in India. Reusing, reducing, and repurposing reduce the amount of waste that burdens landfills as well as reduce the need for newer clothes. Plus, most thrift stores also contribute to local charities and social causes to give back to the community. Dolce Vee founder Komal Hiranandani explains, “People won’t turn to preloved if they don’t trust preloved. That’s why we prioritise cultivating the best quality control team in our country so shoppers can browse from quality-assured finds. Giving shoppers a trusted and fun shopping experience is key to making this a part of people’s shopping habits”. 

And on the fun side of it, thrifting also offers a great opportunity to find and bring back unique pieces from brands that have been long forgotten. Expounding on the joy of thrifting, Paradime Thrift founder Anshuman Chakravarty says, “Sometimes I ask myself – does owning really cool clothes give me a lot of joy? I delved deeper into this and figured that it was actually the excitement and gratification of finding a really rare 80s windbreaker from a brand that probably doesn’t even exist anymore and giving that brand a platform to be seen on our Instagram page that drives me to keep doing what I’m doing. I’m just preserving that ‘kid in a candy shop’ feeling for myself”.  

According to BusinessToday.In, “The market for second-hand goods in India is a thriving one, it gives people the chance to buy something very inexpensive for a fraction of the price, and it also helps give old clothes a fresh run.” To help you join the slow fashion movement and fulfill your cravings of shopping while being kind to the planet, we’ve curated a list of 7 thrift stores in India that offer sartorial gems.  

1. Bombay Closet Cleanse  

Sustainable fashion for a cause? Bombay Closet Cleanse, a women-run thrift and consignment store on a mission to make circular fashion a way of life offers you a platform to shop, sell, and rent women’s and menswear. They also have 100% charity sales where all profits go to a selected cause. The business believes that pieces that have been worn out by one can be a fashion find for another. You can browse an array of clothing from tops, pants, dresses, and jackets to kurtas, pyjama sets, lingerie, and more.  

2. Dolce Vee   

In a world that chases trends, be the kind that leverages mindfulness as a way of life. To promote this ideology, Dolce Vee, a sustainable fashion destination, features consciously chosen pre-loved articles of clothing picked right from the closets of Bollywood celebrities. Run by Salt Scout, an online platform that hosts charity auctions and sales of clothing and accessories to support a social cause, founder Komal Hiranandani shares, “We launched India’s first Clothing Environmental Footprint Calculator so that people can see an estimate of the litres of water and kgs of carbon saved by purchasing each individual piece preloved over newly manufactured. We have personally seen how this has converted people who never shopped preloved before to turning to preloved first whenever they are looking to make a purchase. To give you a sense of the impact, the Dolce Vee community saved over 1 crore litres of water and as much carbon as driving over 1 lakh km through pieces sold last year alone, when these pieces are purchased preloved over newly manufactured”. 

3. Aimee Loved  

What began as a way to put unused clothing to good use has today become a vintage thrift store that celebrities shop from. Aimee Loved, as a small business, supports conscious shopping and this is an ideology that’s close to the founder’s heart as well. Featuring clothing from legacy brands like Vivienne Westwood, Missoni, Acne Studios, DKNY, Anna Sui, and much more, the business offers high-valued vintage pieces at affordable prices so that luxury can be attained by all.  

Also Read: Is Only Shopping Truly Sustainable?

4. Wildflowers Thrift Store  

All of Wildflower Thrift’s apparel is either pre-loved, unused, or rejected by brands and they partner with small businesses to raise funds for NGOs with a cause close to their heart. They stay mindful while curating by keeping utility in mind. When asked about her journey as a thrift fashion business owner, founder Ria Chowdhary says, “The idea started with clearing out my own closet and letting go of hoarding habits. It’s beautiful to see the number of individuals making the shift to slow fashion and letting go of their apprehensions of appreciating preloved apparel”. An ethical and sustainable frontrunner, the business employs paper or bio-degradable plastic packaging to ship out their products.  

5. Carol’s Shop and Tea Room  

Based in Nagaland, Carol’s Shop and Tea Room curates eccentric sartorial finds that catch the fancy of men and women alike. Curator Carol Humstoe handpicks the vintage gems from destinations like Nepal, Delhi, Bombay, Dharamshala, and even internationally like New York. The genderless clothing comes from Carol’s travel escapades, their off-beat vibe and stunning prints being a massive selling point for the small business.  

6. Label Society  

Offering “collectables for your wardrobe”, Label Society, run by Aastika Marwaha and Geetanjali Singh, features laid-back and timeless apparel mindful curated to cycle from one’s wardrobe to another. Instead of following trends, the small business focuses on creating collections of wardrobe essentials that’ll last you a lifetime.  

7. Paradime Thrift  

A haven for all things sartorial and pop culture, Paradime Thrift is a dream for street style enthusiasts and Gen-Z and millennial fashionistas. Their vintage upcycled collection offers a variety of options for men to pick from. Speaking with ThinkRight.me about his journey as a thrift store owner, founder Anshuman Chakravarty said, “I’m proud to say that we were one of the first few players to enter the space in India and get the opportunity to educate people and create a market at a time where there was a lot of stigma and prejudice surrounding the thrifting clothing space”. Both he and business partner Muskaan Arora promote slow fashion and mindful shopping through their enterprise and give back to the community by hosting donation drives across the country.  

If you’d like to organize one in your city or donate for their next drive, please email them at paradimethrift@gmail.com 

While these are only a few albeit the chicest thrift stores on Instagram right now, the emergence of thrift shopping serves as a hope to revive slow fashion and embrace circular consumption in the fashion industry. Whether you’re new to the thrift shopping scene or are already a pro, add these stores to your list to have access to the rarest of finds at affordable prices. Happy Thrifting!  

Read More: How Travelling Can Be Great For Your Mental Health?

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