Thrift stores have been around for some time, but they haven’t been as important as they are now, in the wake of a deteriorating climate. Most of us have too many clothes that we’ve collected over the years and because fashion is cyclical, a lot of styles (especially from the 90s) are coming right back around. The concept of the thrift store has recently found its home on Instagram, which has since become somewhat of an e-commerce platform since the introduction of shoppable IG stories.
While selling pre-loved clothes, shoes, and accessories on Instagram do not require the shoppable post update, the accounts that dabble in this business have benefitted from people’s overall willingness to shop straight from Instagram without the need for a 3rd party mediator. This allows people from all over the region (and the world) to partake in sustainable shopping and swap styles with others they have never met. With worldwide shipping as a plus, packages also come wrapped in paper or scrap cloth, so as to remain plastic-free.
A cursory google search of online thrift stores reveals well-established outlets across Europe and America. However, there are a bunch of lesser-known gems on this side of the world too. If you are based in Southeast Asia, here are 4 Instagram Thrift Stores you’ll want to check out.
1 – @deannadeanni | Malaysia
My favourite thing about this sister duo (apart from their efforts to promote sustainable fashion) is the hashtag they use: #siapanakseries.
The phrase siapa nak, which is Malay slang for ‘Who Wants (This)?’ is a fun and catchy way to mark available items and also give their culture a cameo in this online business venture. Customers who buy from them and post pictures in the clothes are reposted under the hashtag #siapanakgang, which helps to create a sense of community.
While they sell and display most of their items via IG stories, they do present some curated pieces on their Instagram feed. The aesthetic is clean, colourful, and shot on film.
This helps to perpetuate the 90s vibe that is their main draw. Everything is also modelled by the sisters themselves. Their audience growth has witnessed a modest but steady increase over the last year and I hope that more people notice them. They have an incredibly well-sourced collection and is clear that they put in quite a bit of effort with the styling and photography.
While majority (66.2%) of their followers are currently based in Malaysia, their worldwide shipping has attracted followers from neighbouring Singapore as well as the UK, Japan, and Australia.
Check them out and you might just find something that kamu nak (translation: you want).
2 – @gomargaux | Singapore
Managed by local influencer Brenda Tan (@wordweed), Go Margaux as a brand identifies as “vintage jewellery and apparel for the modern woman”. I liked the juxtaposition between ‘vintage’ and ‘modern’, and it seems like aesthetic does come through.
Original content is interspersed with reposted artwork and photography, which gives the entire feed a ‘contemporary art exhibit meets well dressed working woman’ vibe. This Insta-shop is more a vintage store than a thrift store, and purchases have to be made via the website, but the element of sustainability still plays a big part. None of the items here are new, which contributes to the entire phenomenon of combating fast fashion.
It is interesting to note that majority (32%) of the account’s followers are aged between 18-25, which reflects the demographic of people who are passionate about or interested in sustainable shopping. Considering they sell more niche, vintage items, the prices are a little steeper but they don’t seem to be facing any issues making a sale.
3 – @letsgetsparkle | Indonesia
My account of choice from our neighbouring country is an account with more than 40K followers. With Insta-shops, it can be hard for followers and/or consumers to keep track of what has been sold and what is still available, so the owner of this thrift store has cleverly left a hashtag in their bio.
This store presents more typical thrift items like t-shirts, hoodies and sweatshirts. Their clothes are not modelled, which is also in line with the thrift habit because of the sheer number of clothes that need to be put on display.
What is interesting to note about this particular label is that they do make an attempt to venture beyond just the passive act of selling clothes, albeit sustainably. They also interact with their followers and people in the community via styling sessions.
These are by far their best received posts, probably because they extend beyond the realm of buyer-seller and offer people tips on how to style the clothes they might have just bought.
4 – @peaccics | Philippines
If you are looking for street-style retro, this online thrift store is the place for you. Based in the Philippines, Peaccics has the 2nd highest following of more than 11K in comparison to the other shops in this list.
They are followed by some prominent celebrities and micro-influencers in the Philippines which is testament to the standard of their items as well as the cause that they stand behind. None of their items are modelled, but are photographed very professionally which is important for an Instagram-based store because consumers need to be able to gauge the product well before purchasing.
This satchel was very well-received, garnering over 100 likes, which is rare for an Instagram shop that does not curate or create content for the purpose of likes. There were also many comments left on this image which read “mine” — what seems to be the quintessential Filipino way of reserving an item.
Peaccics also caters to a Gen Z / millennial consumer base, and it is interesting to note that across all these accounts, female followers are the majority.
This is perhaps indicative of the kinds of clothes that make it into thrift/vintage stores, and a comment on consumer patterns. Women do tend to buy more clothes and wear them for less time, which explains why they are able to sell or donate their clothes. In turn, women have more options when it comes to thrifting compared to men. While I’d love to see more diversity in thrifted pieces, where we are at isn’t a bad start.
It is amazing what putting Instagram and Gen Zs together can do for the world. While saying no to plastic lids and using a reusable metal straw instead of plastic has sort of become second nature, buying fewer clothes doesn’t come as easy. The least we can do is ensure our shopping is sustainable. After all, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
If you are interested in what else young changemakers are doing for the climate, click here.