The clothing industry, after the fuel industry, is the largest polluter in the world. Here the question arises: why produce and buy more clothes, when so many unique things already exist?
Seeking a space where fashion conscious shoppers could buy pre-loved items, Folkpants was created by a style-hunting team of sisters - Linno and Lumri Jajo. Based in Ukhrul, Manipur, the Jajos built an online shop where potential customers could find carefully selected second-hand clothes which were high quality. They curate items which feel timeless, working with the idea that your clothes should serve you for years.
We spoke to Lumri Jajo, who revealed her best advice for buying with confidence online:
Why is buying vintage important?
During our childhood, clothes were bought only according to our needs. Now we have access to fast fashion, and we can buy anything we see and like instantly, clothes have become easily disposable. Buying vintage or pre-loved pieces becomes an act of making people more conscious of their consumption or non-consumption. Since most of the pieces are one of a kind, it makes people rethink whether they actually need to buy them. Is it something they want or do they need it?
Did the way you were raised, or an experience in your life lead you to think about sustainable clothing?
We’ve always been interested in fashion from a young age and were inspired by our mom’s style. Our mom would sew us dresses and knit sweaters for us, which would then be handed down to whoever is younger. Also, our town has a lot of shops that sell second-hand clothes, and we grew up wearing it. Having that experience made us appreciate the difference in what we wear and how we shop.
How did you start Folkpants?
In the year 2018, we had initially planned to open a shop on Instagram. But one of us had to move to Bombay, so we couldn’t start Folkpants until the summer of last year. And it couldn’t have been a more apt timing to start Folkpants, as we were both home, in a place where we had access to second-hand shops and could incorporate our aesthetics in our photo shoots.
Where do you source your clothing from?
We visit shops that sell second-hand items, or local products and make curation of selected items from those shops.
How do you price your items?
We price our items according to how much we paid for it, the process of restoring or cleaning it, the condition of the item and how rare it is. We also take into account packaging and delivery charges.
Do you think community-building is an important part of the sustainability movement?
Definitely! Even though Folkpants is still a small enterprise, we are able to actively engage with not only our local community but also with others who are interested in sustainable living. We feel that we wouldn’t have been able to undertake this journey into sustainability without the support we get from a community of enthusiasts.
Are you picky about the items you choose to feature?
We are very selective with the items we procure and look out for unique pieces, we also choose pieces which are functional and which people will be able to easily incorporate into their wardrobe.
Is it difficult for you to part with items that you really love?
Well, we do come across items which we really like but at the end of the day, we rethink about whether we really need it, or we just want it. That being said, recently, we found a white Calvin Klein shirt that fit one of us really well. We decided to keep it because it was a piece which we would wear for a long time and get a lot of wear out of.
Is sizing difficult when selling online?
Since both of us wear mostly XS & S sizes, it’s hard for us to buy pieces that aren’t our size confidently. Because we also model the clothes for our shoots, it gets a little difficult to style bigger sizes as people want to see how the clothes would fit them. But we are trying to incorporate more sizes in our curation, which would mean consulting and inclusion of people who have different body shapes and sizes.
What is your return policy?
Currently, we don’t have any return policy. We make our interactions with customers as transparent as we can. We are open to any questions they have about the pieces before they make the purchase.
Should potential customers also consider buying their accessories from vintage stores?
Yes, definitely. There are many good pieces, in terms of quality and uniqueness, that we find in vintage stores that we don’t get elsewhere. We have a lot of bags in our personal collection which we bought from second-hand shops. Also, shoes are up and coming in the market. Beyond shoes and bags, we don’t find other accessories which are vintage, maybe locally made accessories which aren’t vintage per se but can be sold in our stores.
What was the first vintage item you purchased, and is it something you still wear?
One of us bought a black sheer top in the late 2000s. It’s one of the pieces we have till now that both of us still love to wear.
Images by Folkpants.