Second-hand is first as more youth are drawn to thrift shopping
Millennials and Gen Z embrace thrift shopping as they can find unique apparel that is affordable
Millennials and those in Generation Z are embracing thrift shopping 2½ times faster than any other age group.
That is according to research published by ThredUp, the world's largest fashion resale platform inspiring a new generation to think second-hand first, in its 2020 resale report.
Purchasing used clothing is a niche trend that is also gaining traction in Singapore.
Mr Gilbert Salonga, owner of Lucky Plaza Bazaar, told The New Paper that 60 per cent of its customers are youth in Singapore "as the younger generation likes upcycling our clothing".
Meanwhile, SSVP Shop's venture into social media marketing during the circuit breaker also attracted a younger fan base. They make up 40 per cent of its customers, displaying "an awareness of being sustainable and buying responsibly", said shop supervisor Maurice Wong.
Being able to find distinctive apparel at an affordable price - as low as $2 for clothes and bags - is the main appeal of thrift shopping.
Miss Bernice Chia, 19, who is waiting to enter university, said: "I can get unique pieces that cost lower than retail prices at (regular shops). It is also very cheap to get a (whole) outfit - top, bottom, bag and shoes - that costs less than $30 altogether."
Ms Kate Koh, programme and volunteer management executive at the Singapore Council of Women's Organisations, which runs New2U Thrift Shop, said: "More youth these days opt for pre-loved items or even start to DIY their own fashion pieces with pre-loved items they get from thrifting.
"Thrifting contains an element of surprise as you never know what you might find in a thrift store. If you are lucky, you might even find a brand new item at a very affordable price.
"Thrifting is also one way of creating sustainable fashion and generating less waste as items are donated, sold and owned by more than one person, increasing the item's lifespan."
Like the rest of the retail sector, thrift shopping could not avoid the downturn caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Sales at Lucky Plaza Bazaar fell by more than 50 per cent and foot traffic at SSVP Shop decreased by 20 per cent.
While businesses have regained momentum since restrictions have been relaxed, New2U Thrift Shop's - which caters to students, tourists, migrant domestic workers and professionals alike - Ms Koh said it has yet to see "traffic similar to pre-Covid days".
But thrift shoppers have resumed their activities, taking precautions like wearing gloves and sanitising their hands.
Ms Koh said: "We believe thrifting can be a lifestyle choice regardless of monetary considerations. More youth today are more involved and concerned with the impact that humans have on the environment and many have taken conscious steps to play their part."
Miss Ashleigh Gan, 18, who just finished her stint at a junior college, hopes those who jump on the thrifting bandwagon will not block out those who depend on such items.
She said: "It should not prevent people who actually need these affordable clothing from purchasing them as prices may rise with this trend."