• Starting a new journey…

    So, we have big news. In case you have come from our Insta page (Given.mumbai), you are already confused but if you ended up here randomly, hi and take a seat. It’s about to get interesting.

    Shalmali and I deleted all our Insta posts today! (Whoa!) It was partly a whim, partly a decision to move towards a more honest journey of sustainability. Our blog post titled ‘New ideas and obstacles’ will give you more context. What this basically means is that we were getting tired of juggling different products on our page alongwith the occasional educational content. In fact, we don’t even want to have a ‘product’ anymore in the sense of reselling thrifted items. We want to actually manufacture something, focus all our energy on it and be creative with it. A thing that has actual utility in our lives, efficiently reuses old clothes and stays for a very very long time in its new form. (Any guesses?) The idea is to make a new product from old clothes and sell it to sustain our small organization.

    We are very excited to take this new step forward and hope that you will join us on this journey. What do you think we are launching?

  • Desi sustainability during Ganpati

    Ganpati is here and after 2 years of loss and fear, full-fledged festivities are back too! We hope that you are as excited as we are. Obviously, this week’s blog could not NOT be festival themed! Because with festivals, come decorations of all shapes, sizes, forms and of course…materials. Big, bold, festive decor is what announces the arrival of a few days of holidays filled with a lot of joy and good food! Decor is also the thing that immediately seperates regular days from festive days. It wouldn’t be Ganpati without a makhar, Diwali without the lamps or Christmas without the trees! You get it, decor is important.

    So we got thinking about what Indians do during festivals, to decorate their houses or idols. For starters, we definitely have a love-hate relationship with thermocol ‘makhars’. Thermocol ‘makhars’ are bad for the environment because thermocol doesn’t dissolve back into the earth. The colours or glitter used on it are also artificial substances that just stay around. But at the same time, life is more hectic than ever and thermocol is a convenient choice. For the working population, it’s truly an affordable and easy option. Everyone doesn’t have the time and energy to DIY or reuse items into decorative pieces.

    And yet, Indians have a treasure-trove of ideas for festive decor that are intrinsically sustainable and environment-friendly. Not to forget, simple and cost effective! At Given, we like to call it ‘Desi thrift’. So, here are some things Desis do, that wow us (and also make us proud):

    1) Using old sarees or dupattas as a backdrop. 2) Using old pillow stuffing to make new arm-rests. 3) Putting up old necklaces as decorative garlands. (Pearls look the best!) 4) Building forts from mud (‘Shadu mati’) or bricks. Bricks can be painted in natural colours derived from vegetables. They look stellar paired with some oil lamps. 5) Building structures by melting wax. That wax can then be reused and turned into candles. 6) Traditional hand-block printing or embroidery on natural fabrics. (If you are confused what this means, don’t worry. We have a whole post on Natural and Synthetic fabrics already up on our page).

    Can you think of anything else? Let us know what we can include in this list!

    It’s an amazing feeling to know that Indians have been practicing sustainability before the global conversation even began.

    Happy holidays and even better festivities to y’all! Tell us how you are celebrating 🙂

  • New ideas and obstacles!

    Shalmali and I recently spoke about how we want Given to do things differently. We both started that conversation with a big complaint: All of social media is a market place. There’s a market for everything, and everyone is constantly buying or selling. We are ofcourse part of this online shopping cycle but we are feeling an overwhelming sense of what we are calling ‘consumption exhaustion’. There’s just too much ‘stuff’ out there, constantly on sale, constantly in our faces. It’s wrapped in the fanciest cinematography and the trendiest music. With Given, we tried to fit into this model but we can’t and honestly, we don’t want to. It is like doing something a certain way because the Zeitgeist is structured that way, not because we like it that way. So how do we do things differently?

    How do we sell without subjecting people to consumption exhaustion? The answer is: we don’t know. We are trying to find out for your sake as much as for ours. But in the meantime, we have decided that if we put something out, it will be unique. Unique in that it will be sustainable at its core and supportive of local workers and lost artisanship. But unique also that it will reflect a little bit of us; the colours, styles and silhouettes that we like and enjoy!

    We have noticed that most of the thrift pages out there are selling things they went out and bought themselves. These are not old clothes they already had or donations they took from people. There’s nothing wrong with reselling things of course but doing it under the garb of ‘thrifting’ is just…let’s say, questionable! Of course there are some genuine pages out there too with some even making things by themselves and selling them on a made-to-order basis and that’s cool to see. It’s a mixed batch of cookies.

    So basically, what we are saying here is we want to step out of this rut of consumption and wait to sell until we have a product that is unique and true to us. We may still put out drops from time to time but these will be from the donations we receive or some of our own stuff. Practice before preach of course 🙂 Until next time, thrifters!

  • Navigating uncertainty

    Given has always been a surefooted brand. We always wanted to be a small-scale thrift shop with a loyal customer base. We want a community that engages with us, a communication that helps both sides discover the world of sustainable fashion. But as luck would have it, we launched just before the pandemic hit in 2020!Traveling to collect donations from strangers, sifting through them all and setting up a thrift shop somewhere for a physical sale, became impossible. So in a way, we were forced to shift to Instagram, an app where the ever-changing algorithm makes it difficult for small pages to survive or even connect with users. Actual content creation (re: making reels, engagement through Insta stories etc) was never on the agenda for us so bear with us as we stumble through that part.

    In the meantime, innumerable thrift shops crept up on Insta so our USP was… well…no longer an USP! Since this transition, we are trying to make the best of the situation and have dedicated ourselves to our page. We started dabbling in 2 activities: selling thrifted products and educating people about sustainable fashion through write-ups. If you haven’t yet, do scroll down on our page to give some of that a read. We promise it’s not a snooze fest! Our personal favorite is Synthetic Dyes: the problems and the solutions.

    All said and done, we still want to set up an actual space where you can visit us and actually feel the fabrics or examine the products yourself before purchase. We hope that the future holds that possibility for us. But till that happens, comment down below to let us know which team you are on, #teamsell or #teameducate?

    Until next time, thrifters!

  • Introducing us!

    Hi! Welcome to given.writes, the blog/friendlier social page for given.mumbai on Insta. It’s really nice to see you here. You may have come here out of plain curiosity or an actual urge to know more about us. Either way, this introduction shall serve well for both 🙂 Our insta page/shop Given.mumbai, is basically an idea. It started with the simple motivation to upgrade our wardrobes without completely destroying the environment. But we are getting ahead of ourselves. You must want to know who runs the whole thing and whether we are reliable. I get it, we are pretty cautious people too. Well, our names are Shalmali and Asmita. We have been best friends since college, 8 years ago. We love fashion and are totally obsessed with clothes. But when we graduated in 2017, we were essentially waking up to the reality of the world. The conversation around climate change had never been more profound (hello, 2022) and we were just beginning to learn how badly our consumer choices can affect the environment. That was a bummer of course but we knew there was an alternative. Something the West had been exploring for quite some time. Thrifting: secondhand purchases of anything and everything under the sun! This idea hadn’t quite taken wings in India yet and we just wanted to be part of something good. Money was obviously not the motivation because let’s be honest, thrift sales don’t pay rent :p! So, one hot summer afternoon, over 2 humble cold coffees, we decided to take a closer look at our wardrobes to find pieces we hadn’t used in a long time or weren’t ever going to, beautiful things that were waiting to be reloved. We reached out to family and friends for donations and were surprised to see that just like us, they had been hoarding stuff too, only for all of it to end up in a landfill for decades. Given.mumbai collects everything: clothes, jewellery, books, knickknacks, you name it. If you have something you would like to give a longer life to, contact us. If you want to buy something at pocket-friendly rates, check out our page. If you just want some cool sustainable fashion information, that’s cool too! We know you love shopping, so do we. We just hope that the next time you are looking for something, you will put a little bit of your faith in us and in the magic of circular fashion. Until next time, thrifters!