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Nagaland: Online thrift stores thrive as Covid-19 pandemic forces people indoors

By Our Reporter Updated: Sep 15, 2020 7:10 pm
Clothes on display.

Our Reporter
Dimapur, Sep. 15 (EMN): Many small businesses and stores have been left crippled by the coronavirus pandemic, but it has also opened up opportunities for online thrift stores as people have been compelled to shop from home.

During the past few months, young people had ample time to clear out their closets and get rid of unwanted items while earning some money in the process. One such store on Instagram is mysa_4_, launched by four sisters in Dimapur.

One of the sisters, Asen, told Eastern Mirror that they were sitting idle at home with so much time on their hands, so ‘out of curiosity and the love of thrifting’, mysa was born.

Mysa (meesa) is a Swedish verb which means to engage in an activity that is comfortable and pleasurable, especially at home, being content and cozy. This, Asen said, is exactly how they feel while carrying out their business.

Only a month old, the store has garnered many followers from across the country.

“We launched on August 15 and started delivery only in Dimapur but slowly we got orders from all over India and now we deliver everywhere,” said Asen.

The four sisters, aged between 16 and 25, also feel that with their venture they can contribute ‘in small ways’ to the family. Their cousins have also contributed their pre-loved items like clothes, bags and shoes, Asen shared.

“They contribute their items and we give them 50% of the selling price of the product,” she said.

Dimapur’s New Market, the nerve centre of second-hand shopping, was shuttered for six months straight. This had forced shoppers to indulge in bulk-purchase of goods which were mostly priced between INR 10,000 to INR 35,000 per sack.

Nzano, a 29-year-old resident of Duncan Basti, told this newspaper that during the last six months, she had bulk-bought dresses, bed sheets and pants for INR 45,000 altogether.

“Many people around my neighbourhood bought most of the clothes and the rest I put it up on my Instagram page which were sold out very quickly and I made good profit,” Nzano said, adding that a lot of work and thought goes into posting the perfect picture of the item online.

Another thrift store on Instagram, thrift_nation_apparels, is owned by four friends. ‘Everyone is into online, and whether there is Covid-19 or not, many people buy clothing and other items online,’ said Anung, one of the owners of the store.

She shared that the main problem they faced was delivery during the pandemic. “Customers are not willing to pay the high delivery charges, so we had to compromise on the prices of our items,” she said.

According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), it takes 3,781 litre of water to make a pair of jeans, from the production of the cotton to the delivery of the final product to the store. That equates to the emission of around 33.4 kilogram of carbon equivalent.

The UNEP stated that every year the fashion industry uses 93 billion cubic metre of water, which is enough to meet the consumption needs of five million people.

Around 20% of wastewater worldwide comes from fabric dyeing and treatment while the fashion industry is responsible for 10% of annual global carbon emissions, more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined.

“At this pace, the fashion industry’s greenhouse gas emissions will surge more than 50% by 2030,” according to the UNEP.

“We don’t usually go thrift shopping to the markets or any stores to buy and sell; we are selling mostly items from our own closets after de-cluttering which I feel is much better instead of just throwing them out,” Anung said, adding that the store has donated to orphanages.

Stephen Lotha, a Dimapur-based designer, felt that thrift shopping is a new way of looking at fashion, especially for people who want to wear unique and exclusive items.

“As opposed to high street brands that every other person shops from, thrift shopping helps in getting one-of-a-kind clothing items to wear,” said Lotha. In terms of sustainability, the designer shared that the whole idea about thrift was not only about fashion but also making use of what is already available in “this huge market of surplus wearable clothes that goes to waste”.

By Our Reporter Updated: Sep 15, 2020 7:10:40 pm