What is vintage fashion and where in India can you find some oldies but goodies?
Save the planet, but make it fashion
At this point, it’s a shocker that the third horseman of the apocalypse hasn’t knocked on your door and asked for some homemade banana bread. The endless lockdown has been tough, including for the fashion industry, which was already grappling with trying to curtail its massive carbon footprint and correct unhealthy practices. Woke buyers are forcing companies to answer tough questions. Are the artisans and weavers paid well? Are the resources utilised in crafting this piece of clothing environmentally friendly? Though it’s impossible to be 100% sustainable, some approaches to breaking the mass-production pattern are upcycling and shopping vintage fashion.
Upcycling is the equivalent of turning yesterday’s leftover beetroot salad into today’s veggie parathas. Shopping vintage fashion breathes new life into old stock, and if you’re lucky, you might score a well-preserved designer item for 1/10th its original price.
Luckily, India is no stranger to these concepts — you probably inherited your cousin Meenu’s frilly pink dress after it made a few pitstops and scored a makeover along the way. And your mom never ran out of pochas, not with a bounty of old T-shirts and shorts to remodel.
We’ve always understood the importance of passing things down, even if the reason differed from person to person. Some chose to do it to save money, while others believed in preserving the sentimental value of items.
This natural appetite for sustainable practice has translated into a recent uptick in upcycled and vintage fashion stores popping up on online. While emphasising the importance of being environmentally conscious when indulging in retail therapy, they’re also shrugging off the taboo that wearing a stranger’s ‘secondhand’ clothes carries.
Here at Tweak India, we’re big fans of all things sustainable and stylish — so here are seven local upcycled and vintage fashion stores that are light on your pocket and your conscience.
Upcycled and vintage fashion brands worth your money
From the scenic hills of Ukhrul, Manipur emerged Folkpants; an instagram-based vintage store by sisters Lumri and Linno Jajo. Their aesthetic is everything you daydream of — green pastures, picnic baskets, blue skies and timeless fashion.
If sheer tops, polka dot skirts, flowing dresses and chic kitten heels make up your Pinterest feed, they’ve got you. Each piece is sourced from their hometown and their travels across cities, bringing you a diverse selection of attire.
Price range: Rs 790 onwards
Founded by stylist Divya Saini, Bodements is born of vintage creations, evident through funky patterns and loud colours spotted on celebrities like Esha Gupta, Swara Bhaskar, and Jacqueline Fernandes.
Shirts, bags, shoes, accessories — they have it all. The best part? It’s all upcycled. Besides their online presence, these items are also showcased at various pop-ups in Mumbai, Delhi and Paris. Hand-picked and sourced from all over the world, Bodements is committed to promoting slow-fashion and responsible consumer practices.
Price range: Rs 1,800 onwards
Claiming to be ‘the world’s first platform for upcycled fashion’, Refash features products made out of post-industrial, pre-consumer and post-consumer waste.
Launched by fashion entrepreneur and founder Akanksha Kaila Akashi, the multi-brand retail concept has run successful collaborations with over a hundred global brands in the form of three verticals – online features, online web shop and offline events like workshops, talks and pop ups.
Their vision is focused on ‘creating a world where nothing ends up on the landfill’.
Carol’s Shop and Tea Room
Nagaland-based model Carol Humtsoe’s fashion project was inspired by her mother’s and aunt’s hand-me-downs she grew up wearing. Seeing the interest it generated among her peers led to the inception of her store.
Comprising handpicked clothing from around the globe, with the criteria being anything she would personally wear, Carol’s Shop aesthetic makes you feel like you fell down a rabbit hole and into Wonderland. Ruffled orange dresses, embroidered satin tops, exotic teas and wads of sage, indulge in collectibles and vintage fashion that are whimsical and dreamy, to say the least.
Through the success of her store, Carol was recently able to donate to 1,000 families affected by the Assam floods.
One look at Panda Picked and you’re thinking, ‘I definitely need to start going out more’.
Home to vintage, casual and intimate wear, founder Preeti Yadav of Panda Picked reiterates the importance of ‘buying less, but better’ through the store’s motto.
Seen on influencers all over instagram, Panda Picked quickly gained momentum due to their lush corsets, that give off a witch-from-the-victorian-era vibe. So when you’re looking to feel as good as you look without burning a hole in your pocket, turn to Panda Picked.
Price Range: Rs 390 onwards
If minimalist and bold fashion got together, downed a few drinks and had a baby, we’re betting Lust Thrift would be the offspring. Metallic skirts, flowing chiffon tops, bold trousers, chic denim and big ruffled shirts — there isn’t a word in the dictionary to define their aesthetic.
Our point? Harry Styles would shop here. What more is left to say?
Price Range: Rs 550 onwards
Founded by Diva Dhawan, Hanna Stromgren Khan, and Gabriella Demetriades, VRTT Vintage retails luxury vintage fashion. Their motto ‘Passing on your personal culture’ stresses on how secondhand is not merely the exchange of goods, but also cultures.
Their inventory consists of luxury goods for men and women, labelled with every high-fashion brand you can think of from Gucci to Versace.
Our take? We think this would make it to Poo’s P.H.A.T. list- Pretty, Hot and Tempting
Price range: Rs. 9,000 onwards