In the early 90s, while I was growing up, it was pretty common to borrow, exchange and wear clothes belonging to someone else as long as it was in the same age category. Before the onset of preloved online shops, the exchange of toys and clothes within the family and extended family was normal and never looked down on or frowned upon. The idea of spending money on stuff like clothes and toys that children outgrow and get bored within a matter of weeks and months didn’t figure among the priorities for our previous generations where keeping food in the bellies of their large families took top priority. It was an era of joint families and the wardrobes of kids and parents were sparsely stacked with clothes and things exchanged within the family and relatives. The kids’ wardrobes consisted of hand-me-downs from cousins and older siblings, and kids grew up together sharing everything. The exchange and barter of clothing and other kids accessories was considered a wise and frugal way of life. It furthered a sense of shared purpose within a community and never attracted stigma on your social standing.
Today, with the rise in nuclear families, exchanging clothes and other things is not regularly feasible. As parents, buying preloved items for our kids is not our first choice due to the stigma attached to exchanging things with strangers. However, there is a welcome churn in this regard.
The surge of interest in secondhand fashion is a global trend. A 2019 report by analytics firm Global Data and online store Thredup estimated that the used fashion market will be worth $64 billion by 2028 — contrasting with the $44 billion fast fashion industry. In fact, India is already a major importer of used clothing, much of comes as “ruined” because it is considered unusable and is recycled into yarn to be re-exported worldwide. With big brands and internationally acclaimed companies such as Patagonia, H&M and Zara promoting the ‘worn-wear’ initiative, using secondhand clothes has never felt and looked so cool.
With the amount of waste and carbon emitted by the global fashion industry, the production process uses toxic dyes and bleaches that pollute waterways and degrade topsoil.
In addition, deadstock and offcuts as well as end-of-life clothing are left to rot in landfills. To put this perspective, we are currently seeing one garbage truck of textiles dumped in landfills every single second. This is a huge problem for Asia in particular, where over half of the world’s clothing is manufactured, and where consumers are constantly demanding new fashion.
Drastic changes have to be made if we are to make fashion sustainable, and one of the answers is second-hand clothing, which is set to grow to 1.5 times the size of the fast fashion market within the next 10 years. Realizing the environmental impact of mainstream fashion, increasingly sustainability-oriented shoppers are looking to buy more from preloved online shops.
The sea change towards a more circular, secondhand fashion economy is a reflection of the increased consumer focus on sustainability, especially amongst younger buyers in Asia and globally who are attracted to purpose-driven businesses. According to the 2019 BCG-Altagamma report, over 50% of Gen-Zs have bought or sold second-hand clothing.
Even the West is looking towards more eco-friendly ways of life- the rising flea markets, thrift stores, preloved online stores and garage sales are a testimony to that. This is evident with the rise in social media – Facebook and Instagram-only shops and other preloved online shops offering everything from kids’ clothes, toys, books and accessories at bargain prices and a quality certificate; has tremendously helped in the rise of the preloved industry.
With young consumers, gen Z and young parents buying second hand fashion, thrifting and purchasing preloved clothes, accessories and toys is the cool and green way to be.
Here are some of the popular preloved online shops and social media pages for buying preloved clothes, baby gear and toys for you and your kiddies.
Dedicated websites as preloved online shops:
- www.khilonewala.in- Khilonewala began in Indore in 2011 and was the first online toy library that rented toys, games and books for kids aged 1-12 years. It presently supplies across MP and Maharashtra.
- www.tinythings.in – A website started in 2020 by Noida-based mothers who wanted to promote the idea of love, transfer and repeat. They buy and sell everything from refurbished clothes, toys, prams, accessories, footwear and more.
- www.prehugged.com – Prehugged, another website that began in 2020 during the pandemic and sells everything from preloved clothes, toys, puzzles, board games for children of all ages across India.
- www.kiabza.com – This is a preloved online shop which sells branded, preloved clothes for the whole family. They sell branded clothes of brands such as Ralph Lauren, CK, GAP, Zara, H&M amongst others for men, women and kids. You can buy and sell clothes through this website, donate clothes for charity purposes or put it up for sale, as well.
Facebook Shops That Offer Preloved Online Shop Services:
- Cherished Possessions: This is a women’s only private Facebook group with over 19,000 members selling everything preloved from women’s clothes and accessories to children wear, shoes, bags amongst others. This Facebook-only page began two years ago and is amongst the popular preloved page in this social media.
- Second Hand Baby Products Mumbai: This page, though not as popular as the former, has been running since 2018 and has around 1500 members. The page caters to parents predominantly of Mumbai, buying and selling preloved kids’ clothes and accessories.
- Preloved Kids Items Buy and Sell Group: This page has over 24000 members and like the above two, buys and sells kids’ stuff and accessories across India.
- Upcycle Kids Preloved and New Stuff: This page is amongst the oldest with over 26000 members, started in 2016 and promotes recycling, buying and selling of rarely used, almost new kiddie clothes and other items.
Instagram Shops that double up as preloved online shops:
- TwiceTreasured: Twice Treasured began in 2020 and is a ‘Made in Instagram’ only shop. The page began by two Noida based mothers and also having a website of its own, buys and sells branded baby products and accessories.
- Preloved Kids Clothes: Their tagline says it all, ‘Once worn, Twice loved’ and deals predominantly in selling and buying old clothes and books through their Instagram page of the same name.
- The Kids Preloved Shop: Another Instagram-only shop that deals more with new born baby products, clothes and accessories. The page facilitates a market place as the buyer and seller are directly allowed to communicate with each other, fix a price and finalize the order.
- Bookish Kids Preloved Books: The page began by a grandmother of three adorable kids, deals exclusively in preloved books for kids between 2-12 years of age.
- As They Grow India: As They Grow India is an Instagram only page with over 60,000 followers and deal with buying and selling second-hand products for kids.
The ones that I have named above are just a few of the many preloved online shops that are popular today. While our parents relied on cousins and relatives, now we rely on Google and social media for finding a solution to all our woes.
For once, the millennials are following a trend which is not just pocket friendly but environmentally friendly, as well. Indeed, old is gold!