Sustainable fashion in Chennai gets a push as Shruti Ashok launches The ReLove Closet
Thrift shopping has forged for itself a new avatar. It is no longer bound by the definitions of one sifting through piles of hand-me-downs at a local sale to save money. Following its growing celebrity patronage that include the likes of Kim Kardashian West and even the Duchess of Sussex Megan Markle, the idea has found its way to the mainstream, and now deals with high-end brands and couture apparel. “Globally, there is a larger acceptance for recycled fashion. I believe the culture is gaining momentum among the millennials and Gen Z for two major reasons. One, nostalgic, vintage fashion is a red carpet staple, and secondly, there is a global push for sustainability,” explains Chennai-based accessory designer Shruti Ashok, who is the latest to take a cue from the trend.
Come full circle
One among the burgeoning segment of labels in India offering “a curated collection of pre-loved, upcycled and vintage treasures”, Shruti’s The Relove Closet went live on Instagram earlier this week. However, the decision wasn’t impulsive. The 27-year-old, who is well-known for incorporating slow-fashion practices into her brand Inai, has been laying the groundwork for close to a year through a series of workshops and collaborations. “Last year, we partnered with the Baksa Project on a sustainable fashion event and were working towards hosting another one with Oh Scrap! (helmed by city-based designer Priyanjoli Basu) before the lockdown.”
Having launched her online project with a series of fast-fashion staples — curated from her own wardrobe and from friends across the city, The ReLove Closet’s next haul exclusively features designerwear from the wardrobe of wellness consultant and health coach, Ishani Vellodi Reddy.
Set to go on sale starting today, the enviable repertoire of apparel, shoes, bags and other accessories include brands like Diane Von Furstenberg, Alice + Olivia, Manish Malhotra, Gucci, Christian Louboutin, Gucci, Balenciaga, and Yeezy, along with non-branded ones, that have been picked up during Ishani’s travel. “A lot of these pieces have never been worn and still have their tags intact. We will be holding an auction for certain exclusive items, while the others will be put on sale,” Shruti says, adding that The ReLove Closet will also be supporting a cause with each of their sales.
Handled with care
To tackle the preconceptions surrounding second-hand clothing and questions about how well they have been preserved, Shruti informs us that a lot of care is taken to make sure they are in ‘fantastic condition’. “All the pieces that are on sale go through a rigorous method of selection, based on the condition and design. We ensure that there are no defects. However, if there is minor damage to a piece of clothing that can be fixed using embroidery, I make sure I do it by hand,” she shares.
Going forward, as the second label in the city to actively retail recycled fashion, Shruti tells us that workshops to promote slow fashion in Chennai are on the cards.
Pieces from Ishani’s wardrobe start at Rs 3,000. @therelovecloset