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(Blog) History of Thrifting in Asia

history of thrifting asia


Nowadays, thrifting seems to be everywhere! All of those shops, pop-ups, accounts on social media selling pre-loved goods and hey, even this Thryffy app! Nevertheless, it makes me wonder… where and when did this whole culture begin?

Living in different parts of Asia for my whole life, I’m interested in seeing how this really got started. Let’s look towards our neighbour, Malaysia. Malaysia had a boom in its second hand clothing because simply, there is supply and demand. You see a really famous way of second hand shopping is known as ‘bundle shopping’ which is where there would be multiple bundles of clothing sent in from other countries around the world such as Japan, USA, etc. It was heavily influenced by the Japanese vintage culture. From that, people were able to find some incredible finds coming from luxury brands such as Burberry, Coach etc. for incredibly low prices (as that’s the point of thrifting)! Consequently, you had huge numbers of people from high-income to low-income households all attracted to thrifting which turned many people’s livelihoods solely into managing a thrifting store. 

Other than that, thrifting might have some negative connotations to it in society as some people might see it as ‘dirty’, ‘buying dead people’s clothes’ etc. However, this was overturned by people being heavily influenced by the trends of thrifting from the Western world and the incredible finds from thrifting trips.

So, the history of thrifting in Asia is pretty simple. There was just an intrigue to it which roped people in to explore and venture out. People break down the negative stereotypes and keep looking into thrifting. Most importantly, this led to awareness of thrifting being brought out and so it became and trend and ultimately a sustainable lifestyle change for some.