First Thrift event in Mangaluru organized by OBA community

By Shobha Rao Smilemaker

Feb 28: Just a few months ago, a team of Mangalorean women started the OBA (Ohana by Alka) community to promote sustainability and support local weavers. Thrifting was their first initiative towards this cause. Their first event called Ohana Thrift took place on 25th February at the Vertex Lounge and received a very good response.

This initiative by designer - entrepeneur Alka Manoj and her core team of Anjali, Sharon, Gabrielle, Chinjusha and Preethi Amin involved a lot of background work. After a month-long collection drive, the team had to sort out the pre-loved clothes as per quality standards. The effort was worth it because throughout the day of the event, people gathered to buy the reasonably priced 'gently used' clothes as they are also called.

Alka welcomed the dignitaries on stage - the chief guest for the event Mamatha Rai of the Kadike Trust (that is dedicated to the revival of hand woven sarees) along with Durgadas Shetty of Young India Mangalore (which also stands for sustainability practices among students) and Roopa from Vertex Lounge (the managed market space). For this event they also partnered with Moms of Mangalore (a community of connected mothers who are committed to uplifting the city).They lit the ceremonial lamp along with Preethi Amin, their Creative Mentor.

The day was filled with interesting activities like Paperbag making workshop, and Origami workshop. The fashion show with upcycled material made us realize how we can give a terrific new look to the existing clothes of our wardrobe.

Special mention should be made of adorable kids Sholka and Arohi, who created 'wealth out of waste' outfits. Shloka wore a white dress which was made of a rice bag and some old clothes while Arohi flaunted a skirt made of jute bag and a jacket made of reused polyester material.

Alka and Mamatha had a talk on the interesting topic of fast fashion versus slow fashion. Instead of using short term clothes that are produced in large volumes with lots of pollution in landfills or marine beds and made in bad working conditions, it is better to pay a little extra for long lasting clothes that are hand woven with high quality natural fibres and which don't seem to go out of fashion.

It requires mindful thinking to avoid the next round of 'Sweat shopping or blood shopping 'of fast fashion clothes. We became aware of using minimalist clothing in versatile multiple options. It is a pleasure to donate old clothes to communities like OBA which have a a noble cause, wherby the profits from this event would support the weavers of the Khadike Trust. The financial aid would help to train weavers, and give more opportunities or livelihood to the local weavers!

Inspite of slow fashion challenges like lack of consumer awareness or shortage of physical labour, vintage shopping is still the best model for sustainable fashion!

There were other stalls selling unique handmade products. The evening ended with local talent giving us a wonderful musical performance. The photography for the event was covered by Medha.

Indians are generally resource conscious like reusing cousin's clothes. For most Mangaloreans, second hand clothing purchase may not have appealed much before, but times are changing now, and I smiled to have pioneering events like this which will surely increase awareness and action towards buying pre-loved clothes and focusing on sustainable versatile long term fashion!








Shobha Rao Smilemaker has a vision of living in a world where people use their ability to find and make smiles in any situation. She is a lawyer by qualification, a soft skills trainer by passion, a motivational speaker, a freelance journalist, a bestselling author, an avid traveler and founder of 'Smilemakers Trainings'. She can be contacted at










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Comment on this article

  • Preethi amin, Mangalore

    Wed, Feb 28 2024

    Thanks Shobha for writing about our event. You covered what we are and what we do so beautiful. It is indeed great to have as a friend.

    DisAgree Agree [1] Reply Report Abuse

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