I recently had the privilege of interviewing two people who run thrift stores on Instagram. Tanvi Shangle, an interior designer, runs @findandkeep_ and @castleclosetclearance on Instagram. She says she is someone who loves to shop her salary away! Maria Darngawn, a student of the University of Delhi, runs @pink.day.dreams and @cherrypickerstore on Instagram. This interview is to bring to light how thrifting is now in trend and should always be. Thrifting is one of the easy ways by which we can defeat fast fashion. Turn to thrifting!
Tanvi (she/her) is a 21 year old Interior Designer by the day, and binge watcher by the night. She believes in the superpower of social media, and actively volunteers in helping people. She spends most of her time on her phone, scrolling away reels or making vision boards on Pinterest. A hoarder, shopaholic, foodie!!! A lazy virgo, cleanliness freak, perfectionist!!! That’s who she is.
Maria (she/her) is a student of Bharati College, Delhi University pursuing a major in English Literature. She enjoys spending her free time scrolling through her phone and watching cat videos.
Q1. My first question to you is, what made you decide you wanted to do this? How did you land up with the idea of running a thrift store? Was this a dream you pursued or just an impulsive decision?
Tanvi: So sometime around August last year, I came across online thrift stores. And as I got deeper into the thrifting community, I discovered the concept of Closet Clearances. I was hitting up pages for the same, but it didn’t work out well for me. That’s when I decided to take the matter into my own hands and started @castleclosetclearance. The main purpose was to help people sell out their unwanted clothes at a minimal commission rate, and policies that made them feel easy. But after a while, it felt like I didn’t have full control over the page. So I decided to start @findandkeep_ where I source second hand, factory rejects and other hand picked sustainable items, and bring to a wider audience.
Maria: I had always thrifted most if not all my clothes or gotten them tailored as it was what my mother did for us. My mom actually owned a physical thrift store back in Dehradun so I had already been aware of how the sourcing works. The community I grew up in did not treat thrifting as a taboo and it came naturally to me. I started @cherrypickerstore with my sister back in October of 2020 to earn money. Since our business was aiming to be lingerie based I remember pulling out size charts from different countries and companies and studying them. It was not an impulsive decision yet the beginning felt impulsive. We were out one day and decided to thrift the prettiest bras we could find. It all happened very fast and packaging our first order felt very personal to us.
Q2. What ignited your passion? Who inspired you?
Tanvi: The instagram thrifting community is huge, and every page has a USP of their own. Every page I’ve come across, shopped from, or just admired from afar inspires me in their own way.
Maria: I saw a lot of lingerie pieces appearing on my feed in Instagram. At first, my thoughts were “wow lots of lacey aesthetics that I could never afford” but when I actually saw the prices and learned they were thrifted I realised I could thrift these pieces too. It really was a mixture of pinterest inspired pieces and my love for pretty things.
Q3. Tell us about your aim. What was on your mind when you started running a thrift store?
Tanvi: My aim with @castleclosetclearance is to help people clear their closets and find their clothes a new home. My aim with @findandkeep_ is to bring quality, classic and sustainable clothing to people, at pocket friendly prices.
Maria: My main aim was to earn some money. But along the way I learned that bra sizing was a capitalistic evil made to confuse women. It’s funny how bra sizes differ not only from country to country but every company has a different definition of what an A or E cup is. Many women don’t realise this and stick to never learning and honesty who can blame them. Taking my time to personally explain the sizing of bras and lingerie is something I’ve found uplifting for myself and other people who wear such clothes.
Q4. Do you plan on running the thrift store even after the pandemic has collapsed? If yes, where do you see your store in a few years?
Tanvi: As for @castleclosetclearance, I see people choosing that platform for selling their clothes. And @findandkeep_ a platform they keep coming back to, for a sustainable, pocket friendly wardrobe.
Maria: As long as I can source pieces for my store @cherrypickerstore I doubt I will close it down. As for @pink.day.dreams, it’s a very self indulgent project I have taken on for my love for handmade jewelry.
Q5. Please explain to our audience why they should indulge in thrift shopping.
- It slows down consumption and waste
- It’s more affordable and pocket friendly
- You’ll get unique, vintage, rare pieces that you’ll not find anywhere else
- It’s really fun, so why not
Maria: Thrifting is cheap. As a broke college student I don’t see why anyone would need any other reason. But on a more serious note, thrifting has really helped me find clothes that help me express myself. With thrifting the pieces are usually a one time find and the chances of wearing the same dress as a lady from your church are close to none!
Q6. Do you like to thrift? Why?
Tanvi: I LOVE THRIFTING. If you’re a shopaholic like me, you can get a lot more pieces within the same budget if you choose thrifting over branding. Thrifting also makes available unique, vintage items that you’ll not get anywhere else. And to wait for drops, the anticipation, is all so thrilling and exciting in itself. Y’all should definitely try it!!!
Maria: YES! I absolutely love thrifting and the community on instagram as well as in India itself. Since my mom used to run a thrift store in the past I believe I know more about thrifting than most people and it’s great. Most of the middle men are in it for the money yet it is very rare to find a scammer.
Q7. What are some offline thrift stores you like to shop from?
Tanvi: Ahh, unfortunately there are not many thrift stores in Delhi, so I stick to online stores for the same. But when it comes to sourcing, it’s a different matter altogether.
Maria: Sarojini is a great place to thrift from in Delhi though a lot of the clothes are only factory defects or mass produced dumps. There is also Thursday market and Sunday market that takes place in different places in Delhi. If one looks hard enough it’s easy to find a thrifting community at any place.
Q8. Fast fashion is evil. How do you avoid fast fashion at an individual level?
Tanvi: Fast fashion has got a lot to do with trends. How people keep buying new items according to the new trend. Trends lead to bulk manufacturing, and quick disposal of clothes, which are the factors for pollution. So I shop locally, or from thrift stores, ignoring the trends. I focus on pieces that will last long and never go out of fashion.
Fast fashion baaaaad, thrift shopping goooodfriends reference
Maria: I simply look at the price of anything that interests me and if I believe I can acquire it for cheaper if I thrift it then I leave it. As one can imagine this always happens. I’m proud to say I have never bought anything for myself from a fast fashion brand. I don’t resort to buying first hand unless it’s something like shoes. I find it difficult to find anything my size, especially shoes.
Q9. What are some online thrift stores you love to shop from? Help our audience with a list!
Tanvi: @Oakarkthrift, @poshpast, @topdrawerthriftss, @ffetish, @lunalilly.thrifts, and so many more!!!
Maria: @the_elysian_store @treasuresofhera @alohaastore_ @thriftwoo and many more!! I have not bought a lot from instagram thrift stores as I prefer going out to thrift myself but the community is amazing!
Both Tanvi and Maria agree that this wave of online thrifting was not limited to the time we spent at our homes during the pandemic. Thrifting has become extensively popular in India, especially amongst the youth. I hope this interview will motivate our audience to try thrifting. I would like to publicly thank Tanvi and Maria for their time and insight. Remember to turn to thrifting & defeat fast fashion!