By Azera Parveen Rahman

NEW DELHI– Frame one: a pretty designer dress sits in the closet for ages, having outlived its owner’s fancy. Frame two: a young girl desires a designer outfit, but her salary won’t just let her splurge in the store. Now bring the two together; if the second girl could buy the first girl’s little-worn dress at half the price, it’s a happy scene for both. This is precisely what an increasing number of websites reselling second-hand luxury brands are doing – and are finding eager queues of customers.

Buying pre-owned things – be it an electronic gadget, furniture or vehicle – has seen a rising number of takers. There is of course a hesitation of buying something that has been used, but people are getting over it, as an actor in one of the ads on buying a second-hand bike says: “It may be pre-owned, but for us it’s new.”

Practicality is overtaking all biases.

Of course, clothes are more personal, and buying pre-owned clothes is not everybody’s cup of tea. But for college-going youngsters and those freshly employed who are very conscious about keeping up with the fast-changing trends in fashion, this works out perfectly.

“I know my mother won’t be comfortable with the idea of me wearing a pre-owned piece of clothing, but I don’t have any such mental block. For a college-goer like me who lives on a tight budget, fitting the frequent eating-out, movies, and shopping is a challenge. So if I get a designer dress from a brand like Zara or Mango at half the price, I would love it,” says Animikha Sharma, a Delhi-based student.

Rekinza, one such online platform for branded, second-hand women’s apparel, is capitalising on this precise flexible mindset that people, mostly youngsters, have. It sources its products from women across India who don’t want a piece of clothing any more, and then puts it up for sale at a fraction of the original price.

“Of course, we first put the item (that we source) through a rigorous triple quality and authenticity check before putting it up for sale. Besides looking at the stitching, fabric and finishing of the product, finer details such as the label, country of manufacture and other signage on the items to determine authenticity are also accounted for,” Rekinza co-founder Vidisha Pasari told IANS.

“Additionally, for our luxury items, Rekinza has tied up with a third party in the US to provide authentication certificates,” she added. The products which are either new, or new-like, are priced at 50-70 percent off their retail price. The seller quotes the price – “imagine making money on stuff you have used” – and the online platform through which you sell it takes a commission of 15-25 percent.

Elanic is yet another app-based platform to sell and buy pre-owned apparel, including clothes, books, sports goods, electrical appliances, and kids’ stuff. Aditi Rohan, co-founder of this platform, says that the transaction rate since the beginning of its journey has been phenomenal.

Bangalore-based Shruti Bora, who has started an online initiative of a similar nature on her own, says it’s the perfect way to “recycle your wardrobe. Mine is a small platform where I have put up most of my little-used stuff on sale. They are in perfect condition, and for some reason were not used more than once or twice…either I was bored, or didn’t fit in any more, or realised that it didn’t suit me after all! Only my friends and some of their friend know of this at the moment; so the credibility part is taken care of,” she said.

What is interesting is that apart from the youngsters, those in their 40s are also emerging as potential consumers of this hugely-expanding market. “We have seen a growing interest among the 40-plus segment. This shows a shift in the consumer mindset,” said Pasari, whose site boasts of both Indian designer brands and international ones.

Is this then the answer to most women’s all-time woe “of an overflowing closet and yet nothing to wear”. Tricky, but for now, it has definitely addressed many a girl’s fantasy of a new closet in tune with the changing trends.