Reworking Denim from Accra's Kantamanto Market

“Obroni Wawu” - the dead white mans clothes, is a term commonly used in Ghana for the donated clothing that comes from the West. The country has seen an overflow of secondhand-western clothing, bulk sold by charities, that end up in regional markets. Many Westerners believe their donations are being sold in the very charity shops they donated them to, however few realise the sheer amount of cheap clothing that ends up in Africa's markets - a process that is counter-intuitively causing a destructive effect to the country's own textile economy.

During the ‘70s & ‘80s when cases such as the AIDS crisis became more apparent, it prompted the donation of discarded clothing to poorer countries. Today, the British public's relationship with clothing has seen a rising obsession with the ability to have the newest trend at the lowest possible cost meaning, on average, garments are now worn 7 times before being thrown out or donated to charity shops. 

Thought to be a gesture of goodwill, the effect of this dumping means Ghana receives over £50,000,000 of our discarded clothing. However, over the years this has caused more damage than good for local designers, tailors and retailers than the charities had realised. Despite Ghana being home to some of the most beautiful textiles and most highly skilled craftspeople on this planet, the introduction of very low-cost western clothing has had dire effects on the local textile economy long-term. The price of clothing has been driven so low that Ghana’s once booming fashion industry is now struggling to compete.

Asime 02 collection features skirts, jackets and hats cut and made from repurposed durable denim, bought from Kantamanto market in Accra - a sea of western clothes purchased and resold by marketeers. In an attempt to reuse from what has already been made, the jeans are washed, cut and sewn into brand new one-off pieces - available for purchase online later this summer.

 

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