African Second-Hand Clothes

Mima-te and the development of sustainable fashion

Authored by: Amanda Ericsson , Andrew Brooks

Routledge Handbook of Sustainability and Fashion

Print publication date:  August  2014
Online publication date:  August  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415828598
eBook ISBN: 9780203519943
Adobe ISBN: 9781134082957


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Clothing has long been reused, and garments have been retailored, to create new textures of value and give unwanted things a second life. Social and cultural research has focused on remaking in Western societies, but here we switch attention to Africa and explore how unwanted clothes are resold to some of the world’s poorest countries and both how they influence economic development, and how they can be retailored to create new value. Through this chapter we explore trends in up-cycling and how second-hand clothes circulate in and beyond Europe and North America. Many second-hand clothes are exported to Africa, and we investigate the links between poverty and dependency. Later in the chapter, we show how two Mozambican designers, Nelly and Nelsa Guambe, are creating value and producing vintage fashion from low-value, used garments.

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