How this online thrift store is ensuring that your unused clothes help save a life somewhere

The Cause Wear was started by Shreya Chauhan to sell pre-owned clothes at cheap prices and support various causes. We give it a try
Shreya Chauhan with Priyanka from Lotus Blind School, who she and her team had managed to help through The Cause Wear | Pics: Shreya Chauhan
Shreya Chauhan with Priyanka from Lotus Blind School, who she and her team had managed to help through The Cause Wear | Pics: Shreya Chauhan

There are always some clothes (okay, lots of clothes) in our wardrobe that we've outgrown. Too big, too small, worn just once, worn too many times, motivation clothes, memory clothes — who doesn't have at least one of each! Yes, of course, we all donate clothes to charity and do a wardrobe cleanse every year but what if there was a way that your clothes could be donated for more than one good cause? This is where Chennai-based The Cause Wear comes in. Founded by Shreya Chauhan in December 2019, The Cause Wear is an online thrift store that collects and refurbishes clothes that aren't in use anymore. These are then sold online to people who may actually use them. And that's not all, Shreya ensures that every rupee earned from the sales is used for the various causes she supports — from sponsoring the education of visually impaired children to providing oxygen concentrators to those in need during the pandemic. 

So, how does it work? Shreya informs that people can reach out to them via social media or email if they wish to donate. "We then ask them to send a few pictures of the clothes so that we can inspect the condition. Once it is approved, we instruct them to send it to our warehouse address," explains Shreya. While most of the clothes that The Cause Wear receives are from Chennai, there have been few deliveries from Delhi, Bengaluru and Visakhapatnam. The clothes go through a rigorous cleaning process at the warehouse. "We also do a stringent quality check. The clothes are checked for tears, loose threads, missing buttons and all that. If anything is amiss, it is immediately repaired. The outfit is then photographed and put up on social media for people to purchase," adds Shreya. One thing that Shreya insists on is that the donated clothes should be in trend. "We want to help people with affordable and fashionable attire," quips Shreya, who is a BCom graduate from Stella Maris College. 

At a vaccination drive

Over the years, Shreya has worked with trans people, kids with cancer, visually-impaired children and members of old age homes. "We worked with children who were receiving cancer treatment to get them access to online education. They were not able to access their online classes as some of them belong to economically weaker backgrounds. We provided them with smartphones to attend their classes," says a humble Shreya. She also recalls helping a visually impaired girl named Priyanka from Lotus Blind School who wants to become a taxation lawyer. "She had finished her diploma and had applied for her Master's just when the pandemic hit. She was unable to keep up with online classes owing to her impairment. We helped her with whatever she needed, including books, study material and tutors," adds the 27-year-old.  

Her prior experience as a freelance fashion stylist has helped Shreya curate this collection. She also ensures that the collection is sustainable. "There are a lot of clothes that we receive that cannot be sold. We recycle these clothes to create T-shirts," explains Shreya. Explaining the process, Shreya says, "We break down the fabric into pieces and extract the fibre and create yarn from that. With the yarn, we create funky, statement T-shirts." Shreya says that she doesn't want the clothes that come to her to be disposed in landfills and that is why she recycles them.

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