Preloved fashion - a new trend knocking on the doors of Ahmedabad's fashion scene

How can you be fashionable, mindful and ecologically sensitive – all at once? CY looks into the community initiatives towards sustainable fashion and talks about the ‘first ever’ Preloved Garage Sale happening in Ahmedabad.

Climate change is affecting the life of every species on the planet. Decades of consumerism led lifestyles is the prime reason for many, if not all the problems related to Climate Change and Global Warming. The challenge is imminent and so the global forces under the aegis of UN have articulated ‘sustainable cities & communities’ as one among the 17 sustainable development goals. At micro level, many organisations, individuals and entities are innovating and re-thinking. In our own backyard, Team Ciceroni of Ahmedabad is organising a Preloved Garage Sale on June 29, 2019, with the objective of encouraging Amdavadis to move towards sustainable fashion.

hm-has-a-stockpile-of-unsold-clothes-worth-4-3-billion
H&M has a stockpile of unsold clothes worth $4.3 billion (Image Courtesy: Well Made Clothes)

The harsh fact of resource wastage in Fashion industry

According to a BBC article, around July last year, English luxury fashion brand Burberry shook the entire world by accepting the claim of burning almost $40 million worth unsold clothes, accessories and perfumes to protect the brand’s elitism. The same article also mentioned that the growth of global clothing production had almost doubled in the past 15 years. According to HuffPost News, it was said that it takes 2700 litres of water to make a single cotton T-shirt.

Add these facts up and it’s obvious, that our mindless consumerism is making a deep impact on the environment.

Slow & steady rise of Preloved fashion in Ahmedabad

In the good old days, it was common in the family to have “hand-me-downs” that were passed on from the eldest to the youngest child in the family. In case of woolens and “party outfits”, this trend extended to cousins in other cities too. There was not just sense of thrift and common sense, but there was also a lot of emotional attachment involved. However over past many decades, the idea of sharing has been taken over by the craving for ‘new’.

Dire effects of climate change like extreme weather, air quality, irregular season etc. along with the growing discourse on sustainable living is gradually influencing people’s mindsets – what was once looked down upon as a second hand or used clothing is now gathering acceptance and becoming a fashion statement. Many young girls today, choose to wear their mother’s sari at their important occasions and a son feels happy and proud to borrow his dad’s tie for his first formal outing. There are many groups on social media which exist to facilitate exchanging of preloved clothes.

After all, it is not only about sharing clothes but stories, memories and precious moments of bonding with each other. A similar idea was started by the activist Renu Pokharna, an Amdavadi when she spontaneously suggested a ‘Swap, don’t Shop’ event on New Year’s eve a few moons ago.

 

a-still-from-renu-pokharnas-cloth-swapping-evening
A still from Renu Pokharna’s cloth swapping evening

She says, “I have been buying clothes from thrift shops ever since I was a student in New York. Buying used or preloved clothes was never a matter of shame for me. And after I came to Ahmedabad, I once organised a fundraiser for a friend, where I sold off my old travel souvenirs, clothes, books and accessories at an event at a local café. It was very well received and brought me in touch with new friends and also fetched Rs 30,000 for the cause.” she added. “One fine evening I decided to assemble a group of like-minded women to share my extended wardrobe with them. I asked them if they too want to bring clothes which they weren’t wearing to give or exchange with others.” After the successful SWAP DON’T SHOP get together on New Year’s Eve in 2017, many such clothes exchange evenings took place among the Bold Girls (that is how they have chosen to name their WhatsApp group). Like winter, spring and summer collection sales are held at various clothing stores, these group of friends started meeting at the start of each season, so they don’t have to buy new clothes for the upcoming weather and still have a fresh wardrobe. Artist-art therapist Labdhi Shah, who is a part of this sustainable practice, says “It’s not even compulsory to always bring something of your own.” Globally, this concept is gaining momentum under the name of ‘Preloved Fashion’. It is heartening to know that many in aapnu Amdavad are already part of the preloved movement.

Details of Ciceroni's Preloved Garage Sale
Details of Ciceroni’s Preloved Garage Sale

How Ciceroni – a fashion APP is pushing for Preloved

Ciceroni – an Ahmedabad based fashion and lifestyle media portal – is pushing the envelope further. Their idea is to take the preloved fashion concept mainstream and engage wider community with it. As part of the initiative Team Ciceroni has organised, what will probably be Gujarat’s first ‘Preloved Garage Sale’ on June 29 at Options retail store in Ahmedabad. The Garage Sale will feature branded as well as custom designed garments in both western and ethnic genres. The sale is for women garments in the price range of Rs. 200/- to Rs. 2000/-. The collection will be curated by experts of Ciceroni, to ensure a diverse collection.

We spoke with Falguni Patel, Editor and Head – Strategy & Operations at Ciceroni, she shared,

“According to our calculations every day around 2-3 garment exhibitions are organised in Ahmedabad. The desire of wearing new clothes will never go away, but we can at least quench it in a nice sustainable trend.”

The garage sale will exhibit around 150 preloved apparels and approximately 100 used accessories. Patel articulates the core purpose well by saying,

“If we want to save the environment the shame of buying used clothes has to be removed.”

The initiative is being supported by Hara Pitara, one of the largest curated green flea markets of India and The Green Straw, a retail store for sustainable products.

Do you want to join this new movement too? Sort your clothes that are in good condition, and head to Ciceroni’s Preloved Garage Sale. Perhaps, you can also consider joining a garment swapping group. We reckon that the Garage Sale might just bring you in touch with like-minded souls, with whom you may start your own Fashion Swap Group !

Find more about the Preloved Garage Sale here.

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