“Thrifting not only encourages people to give away their stuff but also helps in curbing new demand. This then saves resources, encourages efficiency and reduces waste. I believe sustainability, at its core, means redoing and reusing something that harms none and thrifting clothes fits this idea perfectly” says Anju Khatakho, promoter of sustainability.
Following up with the previous article that cast a light on thrift shopping in Nepal, here we have two other shift shop owners talking about their purpose and view on sustainability.
Dohoran Thrift Store (@dohoran.nepal) is managed by Silvina Pradhan, who is a chartered accountant student with keen interest in sustainability, is an admirer of slow fashion and an outfit repeater.
Nephrift (@nephrift) was started by Bhawana Katuwal when she decided to declutter her closet without actually knowing about other thrift stores in Nepal. Now, this account has more than 300 posts.
1. What’s your backstory of starting a thrift store?
I have always found calmness in decluttering. Long back while I was decluttering my sister’s cupboard, I came across a book called “Overdressed” by Elizabeth L. Cline. The book simply talked about the high cost of cheap fashion and the author’s journey towards a sustainable lifestyle.
When I was just a girl with an ordinary vision, my environmentalist sister’s ethical lectures never got through me; but surprisingly I found this book grew on me. It emotionally broke me apart knowing the clothes that most of us wear had such a sad story behind it. For a girl who was never into sustainability, I found myself constantly reading blogs about sustainability and fast fashion.
When all the sustainability rage started growing on me, I wondered if I could buy as well as sell my items in Nepal. I simply started off selling my barely worn clothes via Instagram and that’s how the journey of Dohoran began.
To give you a backstory, I learned the word “thrift” from a YouTuber- Ashley (@bestdressed) who’d do these thrift hauls and DIYs. She’s also the one who influenced me to sell my pre-loved items. However, I didn’t have a good camera to take pictures, which is really important if you want to sell online. Plus, I worried about what people would think of me if they found out I was selling second-hand clothes. Regardless, I set out on this venture by taking pictures from my phone and continuously working to make this successful. While starting out, I didn’t know about other thrift stores but eventually, I came across @byee.sanna and her hashtags that a lot of people were using to sell and buy thrift items. I would say that encouraged me to do what I was doing and helped me make sales too.
2. Do you buy second-hand items for yourself?
Of course, I am a devotee of second-hand items. As said earlier, I was acquainted with second-hand culture way before I opened my thrift store. I have always been that girl who sought timeless treasures here and there. I was lured to second hand not because of their cheap label but rather by their uniqueness and genuineness.
Absolutely! I recently bought an original North Face Windcheater which is good as new from an online thrift store for only Rs 500. Isn’t that amazing?!!
3. What do you think are the reasons people do not buy second hand even if they’re in good condition?
Right now, people are being carried away with the fast-fashion culture topped with pressure to look good on social media. Influencers are promoting fast-fashion retailers and everybody is following them blindly. Also, people are ready to sell their clothes but not to buy those sold by others. So, I’d say lack of awareness is one of the reasons people are reluctant to buy pre-loved items. Nevertheless, the young generation is relatively open-minded, so outlining the positive impacts of thrifting would bring them aboard in this movement.
I’ve seen a lot of people chasing the trend rather than having their own style. On top of that, people feel superior wearing branded clothes and the opposite when they wear thrifted clothes. I don’t think anyone’s dress labels them as rich or poor, it’s the mindset that matters.
4. What are your further plans with your venture, if you have any?
We have recently started a new venture “Hissi Dohoran” that offers thrifted items for kids. Further, we plan to include items for men, add books, homeware and everything else that’s possible to be thrifted. We believe that with the massive flow of people in Kathmandu, both nationals and internationals for study or jobs, offering thrifted items would surely help them stay on budget.
On a larger scale, we want to create a movement towards building a thrift community, collaborating with various educational institutions to create awareness and removing taboos related to thrifting.
I don’t have a concrete plan as such but after my almost 7 months of experience in promoting thrift culture in Nepal, I have come to realize that people need awareness. Their immediate thought about hearing the word “second-hand” or “thrift” is either low quality or dirty when it’s not that. I hope to change that mindset and aware people of the benefits of thrifting.
If you have any comments regarding thrifting or sustainability then feel free to leave it here or message us directly. Don’t forget to visit these pages to check out pieces that you may like: @dohoran.nepal and @nephrift.
Interviewed and article by Yangzum Lama