Falling In Love With ‘Preloved’ Sarees
Love for saree can often land you in a quandary. You keep coveting the next beautiful wear and yet feel guilty for the stacks of sarees stored in the cupboard over the years. While there are some sarees you have worn only a few times, there are those which you have hardly worn. And some, you have loved but have outgrown with the passage of time. Perhaps, you would love to share these sarees with fellow saree lovers who would cherish them equally as you have had. In such a case, the Magic of Sarees (MOS) Preloved is the perfect platform to go to.
A Preloved saree is a saree that has been previously owned by someone who now wants to part with the saree for varied reasons and is happy to sell the saree to those who will take care of the saree and wear it with love and pride. “Magic of Sarees (MOS) Preloved was born out of my combined passion for popularising saree wearing and promoting sustainable fashion,” says Susmita Misra Founder-CEO, The Magic of Sarees (MOS).
As owner admins of the MOS – an online forum aimed at promoting saree wearing across the globe – Susmita and her sister Suneeta Misra, both from Odisha, realised that most women have more sarees than they could possibly wear. “In the age of social media, quite a few people don’t like to repeat their sarees, leaving them unlikely to ever be worn again. There are others looking for affordable weaves. So a marketplace for preloved sarees seemed ideal for the exchange of sarees,” she says. Anyone who owns at least one saree in wearable condition with a valid ID proof and bank account can become a seller on the MOS.
Women are emotionally attached to their sarees or rather most of their sarees. “There is however an increasing realisation that some of the sarees they own may never get draped again. And being saree lovers they would like to pass the saree onto someone who would love wearing it just as much as they would have rather than have it locked away or given to someone who does not understand its true worth,” says Susmita. While some saree wearers face the practical problem of not having enough space to store sarees, others want to practice and promote sustainable fashion by owning only a select few and buying preowned sarees.
Susmita finds the response to MOS Preloved overwhelmingly positive and hopes that the trend continues to grow. “The MOS has been popularizing saree wearing across the globe for over a decade or more, and the members are saree connoisseurs, saree wearers and saree lovers. So, the sarees on display are from verified sellers, who want to spread the magic of sarees,” she explains.
The platform allows one to access a varied range of sarees from vintage classics to last season’s favourites. One also pays a lower price for the same quality/type of saree besides providing access to some rare weaves which may have been discontinued.
While saree lovers have welcomed the idea and expressed that it was a much-needed one, an e-commerce website for Preloved sarees has also made it easy to both onboard as sellers and buyers. “In this short time we have had repeat buyers, repeat sellers, people buying as many as three sarees at a time, people trying to prebook sarees etc. It was very heartening to see a daughter gift her mother preloved sarees, a young professional buy Preloved to celebrate her new job,” shares Susmita. “We have travelled 80,000 kilometres covering 12 States and 20 cities. The MOS Preloved footprint stretches from Srinagar to Perambur.”
The initiative uses social media platforms extensively, particularly Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn for promotion. The MOS Facebook group has close to 30,000 members with a dedicated FB page to MOS Preloved. Word of mouth, sellers/ buyers have also supported in garnering more customers. Susmita informs that with time and as the business starts to gain more traction they shall invest more in marketing, advertising, offering concierge services for onboarding sellers etc. At present, the MOS Preloved offers sarees at a range of prices and styles – a week’s workwear for less than Rs.10,000, festive wear for less than Rs.3000
When the MOS was started about eleven years ago the appeal of sarees had started to wane across age groups. “But a lot has changed within the saree space since then. Saree groups and aficionados have played a key role in reviving that interest,” she says. These days, not only youth are beginning to take to the saree, but they are also exploring different ways of draping the sarees. Sarees are being styled differently – worn over jeans, worn as regional drapes, worn with crop tops, sneakers, belts and buckles.
The platform is actively contributing to educating on preloved and sustainable fashion, something that is important within contemporary society at large. “Over the next few years we hope to expand our user base and engage with a younger demographic,” she says. “Preloved sarees is very close to my heart. I feel they have more character, memories of the previous owner attached to them. Using a Preloved saree helps extend its life and allows it to write completely new stories. I strongly believe it is the stories that maketh the saree!”