Second impressions

Updated: Oct 21, 2019, 07:41 IST | Dalreen Ramos | Mumbai

Instagram is proving to be a booming marketplace for vintage, thrifted garments, and fashionable Mumbaikars are warming up to it

The fashion world can be a really preachy place — as demonstrated by Miranda Priestly bursting into a cold tirade triggered by not a turquoise or lapis, but a certain cerulean jumper. Other diktats are usually implicit with fast fashion brands marketing unethically made garments in the name of environmental sustainability.

Blouses availble on the IG store @copperboomvintage
Blouses availble on the IG store @copperboomvintage

But the recent news of the bankruptcy of Forever 21 — at one point, the Holy Grail for teenagers — only goes to show how unsustainable the fast fashion model proves to be. That's where Instagram (IG) proves to be a malleable resource; young creators are moulding the photo-sharing platform into a marketplace.

Eden Dias
Eden Dias

Vintage fashion has never really gone out of style — from the revival of the mommy jeans to the reinvention of the Dior saddle bag. But finding true vintage [denoting a piece that is at least 20 years old] is either time-consuming or unaffordable — two things young people do not want. IG then blurs these divides; individuals enthusiastic about both fashion and sustainability get a platform to both source and sell vintage clothing, thus contributing to local stores as well as catering to personal tastes.

Salvatore Ferragamo
Salvatore Ferragamo

Natasha Trivedi, a 24-year-old city-based journalist, started shopping off IG pages about one and a half years ago. Although she started buying second hand clothing about six years ago, she began shopping off IG pages over a year back. "It was so much more convenient and felt like buying from a friend," she says.

Valentino Garavani vintage bags sold on @mirinwonofficial
Valentino Garavani vintage bags sold on @mirinwonofficial

One of the shops that Trivedi purchased from is Copper Boom Vintage, run by Eden Dias, who works at a film distribution company. A fan of vintage, the 24-year-old Bandra resident launched the page a month back and sources clothes from her neighbourhood and around the city, too.

Ngahon Tungshangnao
Ngahon Tungshangnao

"We have a culture where we aren't comfortable with repeating clothes, which is bad for the environment. Before starting mine, I used to follow and buy from other vintage IG stores that were mostly based in the North East. But even with the slew of pages, I don't feel the sense of competition but rather, the sense of community," she admits.

Natasha Natasha Trivedi wearing a Copper Boom Vintage blouseTrivedi wearing a Copper Boom Vintage blouse
Natasha Natasha Trivedi wearing a Copper Boom Vintage blouseTrivedi wearing a Copper Boom Vintage blouse

Dias' prices do not exceed R900. And Trivedi also points out why these pages close the debate on sustainability versus affordability. "These IG shops cater to an audience aged between 18 and 25, who do not have the money to afford brands making clothes out of fabrics like hemp."

Ngahon Tungshangnao, a 27-year-old based in Manipur who launched Miriwon, an IG store named after his mother and fashion icon, in February, states that thrifting in the North East isn't looked down upon. "My mom would buy thrift items for us; we've had many stores here since the 1990s. I source my items from Imphal and even Nagaland. I fell in love with French fashion while pursuing an undergraduate degree in the language. I started by selling some of my own items which were unused," he shares.

With over 300 posts of items ranging from a Coach bag to Steve Madden loafers (under 5k), Mirinwon has had over 200 customers of which Mumbaikars are responsible for a fair chunk of business. But this isn't his only venture. Tungshangnao has also started Dupe It Till You Make It (DITYMI), a page for luxury dupes. "I do proper authentication, checking the hardware or serial number. But Salvatore Ferragamo doesn't have the latter," he explains.

Santacruz-based hair stylist and make-up artist Gracy Arambam, 24, a Mirinwon customer also highlights how the store helps make luxury items accessible. "I purchased a Dior bag about five months back for under R5,000 which would otherwise cost over a lakh," she says.

And for both Tungshangnao and Dias, it's not about getting famous. He says, "I used to be a fast fashion consumer before I got to know the state of workers in factories. I know this is business for me but I like that I am playing a small part in sustainability."

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