Circular Threads Is Changing Preloved South Asian Fashion For Women

Bianca Foley

The UK’s fashion landscape is as vibrant and diverse as its population, with the South Asian fashion market playing a significant role. British Asians, who make up around 7% of the UK’s population, bring a rich tapestry of culture and style, with traditional clothing being a cornerstone. On average, South Asian women in the UK own about 10 to 15 traditional outfits, often reserved for special occasions. However, these beautiful garments often end up gathering dust in wardrobes after just one or two wears. This is where Circular Threads, a pioneering marketplace for preloved South Asian fashion, steps in.

Founded by Anoli Mehta, Circular Threads is the UK’s first and leading curated marketplace for preloved South Asian fashion. This groundbreaking sustainable solution is set to revolutionise the way we engage with South Asian fashion by promoting accessibility to fashion-forward pieces, spotlighting South Asian designers, and putting South Asian fashion on the map for sustainability. 

Anoli’s inspiration for Circular Threads came from a personal experience. “While shopping for my brother’s wedding, I was overwhelmed by the stress and expense of finding the perfect outfit,”says Mehta. “I realised that many of these beautiful, high-quality garments were only worn once and then left to occupy precious wardrobe space.” Drawing from her background in consulting at EY, where she specialised in behavioural change, Anoli saw an opportunity to create a platform that not only makes South Asian fashion more accessible but also promotes sustainability.

Circular Threads ensures that discovering curated fashion, both designer and non-designer, is as effortless as possible. The platform hand-selects fashion-forward pieces in good condition to guarantee that buyers have access to high-quality items at a fraction of the retail price, with select pieces available for rental. “Our mission is to transform the way people perceive and engage with preloved clothing, especially within the South-Asian community,” says Anoli. “It’s about offering better value for money for your South Asian clothing and extending the lifespan of outfits that deserve to be worn more than once. This isn’t just a cultural shift; this is a movement.”

The growing rental and preloved markets in the Western world with the rise of apps like ByRotation, founded by Eshita Kabra-Davies, Hurr founded by Victoria Prew both featuring *some* traditional South Asian pieces  (Kabra-Davies even rents out her traditional wedding saree on her app!), the majority of garments do not fit the bill.  Despite this growth, preloved  had not gained traction in South Asian communities.  Recognising this gap, Anoli established Circular Threads as the UK’s pioneering marketplace for preloved South Asian fashion. “There was a need for a curated, trusted marketplace where people could buy and sell high-quality traditional outfits at a fraction of the retail price,” she explains. Circular Threads fills this gap by offering a seamless experience for discovering and accessing fashion-forward pieces, whether designer or non-designer, and even provides a rental option for those special occasions.

At the heart of Circular Threads lies a commitment to building a like-minded community of fashion-forward individuals who care about sustainability. “We’ve built a community of over 15,000 individuals who are passionate about sustainability,” Anoli shares. “Our customers appreciate the value for money and the opportunity to wear beautiful outfits more than once without feeling guilty about the expense. They’re also excited about being part of a movement that promotes a circular economy and reduces waste.”

Circular Threads hosts activities like upcycling classes, spoken word events, and sustainable shopping experiences to educate and inspire its community. “Sustainability is at the heart of what we do,” says Anoli. “By extending the lifespan of these outfits, we’re not only reducing waste but also celebrating the creativity and craftsmanship of South Asian designers.”

Looking ahead, Anoli envisions further growth and impact for Circular Threads. “Our vision is to continue growing this community of like-minded individuals who care about fashion and the planet,” she says. “We aim to expand our network, introduce more designers, and offer a wider range of services that make sustainable fashion accessible and appealing. Ultimately, we want preloved clothing to become the first choice for fashion enthusiasts, shifting perceptions and habits within the South Asian community and beyond.”

For those new to Circular Threads, getting involved is easy. You can explore their full collection of preloved and rental garments on their website.They encourage everyone to join us in this movement, whether by buying, selling, or renting outfits, or participating in their events.

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