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What is thrifting or the meaning of thrift stores?

There is an atmosphere of change universally, far and wide. Starting from the government to small businesses, everybody has taken a step back and is trying to learn new and creative techniques to work. While changes at large-scale takes a greater amount of time, it is smarter and easier to start small and in our own homes. You can learn to be more aware of your purchases, when it comes to spending your own money and time. Over the course of the pandemic, people have come forward and have shown immense support to small and homegrown businesses. They have upheld the idea of shopping locally. In India, the trend of 'thrifting' became popular during the lockdown, when malls, local markets and several fast fashion websites were shut down. Let us first understand the basics of thrift stores, before diving into its advantages.

What does thrifiting means?

In simple words, thrifting means to go shopping at a thrift store, garage sale, or flea market where you’ll find gently used items at discounted prices. Thrifted items have been loved by the previous owner and are usually in good shape with enough life left to be used by a new owner. In the west, thrift stores are very popular. We have seen a steady rise in India too over the past few years. Although there aren’t many physical stores, thanks to social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook, thrift stores are more accessible than ever now.

Why is thrifting trending now?

In the past decade, thrifting has taken a completely new pace, especially among Generation Z. And here are the possible reasons why:

  • One of the most obvious reasons is that in thrift stores you may discover designer products at a fraction of the original price, considering that they are pre-owned items. If you dig through the racks you will be surprised by the number of quality brands you can purchase at a very steep discount.

  • You can find genuine vintage items that were actually made in the decade that’s coming back into style.

  • Whether you’re looking for or an iconic T-shirt or an out-of-print book that was only made in the 80s, thrift shops are the best bet to get your hands in this items that are no longer in production.

  • Shopping at thrift stores can help you curate a unique wardrobe. They have a much more diverse assortment of clothing, meaning you’re less likely to find yourself wearing the same top or sweater as a friend or co-worker.

  • Some of your purchases might go towards a charity. A part of what you spend goes to a good cause when you make a purchase. For example, Mumbai based e-thrift store Bombay Closet Cleanse, in collaboration with, donated 100% of their sales to help manufacture protective equipment for doctors fighting the battle against COVID-19.

  • Thrift shopping is environment friendly. It is a great way to recycle; you can donate clothes you no longer wear and buy more clothes, eliminating waste in the process. It is a major step towards slow fashion and greatly helps the environment. Every thrift purchase means one less item ending up in the landfill!


It is clear that the thrift culture has undoubtedly captivated the interest of the youth considering the current state of online thrifting. Thrift culture has maintained a growing presence over the last few years, despite being limited to a small online community in India. Only time will tell whether the thrift culture is a phenomenon that is here to stay or is it a passing trend that will soon blow over. It is perhaps in the best interest of both, the environment and people, in the long run if the practice of thrifting continues to flourish.