As consumers jostle their method by way of slender paths in Katangua, one of many largest second-hand clothes markets in Lagos, merchants from all corners will be heard yelling to catch potential prospects’ consideration: “New open, choose and pay, na mumu dey go boutique.”
The scene repeats itself on each market day in Katangua, particularly on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays when the merchants open new bales, as merchants hustle to dispose their sought-after merchandise.
However the story is just not distinctive to Katangua. Sale and buy of second-hand clothes has develop into an enormous financial enterprise round Nigeria.
Second-hand clothes, generally generally known as “Okrika”, “Akube” or “bend down choose”, has been a veritable possibility for, not solely low-income earners, but in addition different individuals who would quite go for it due to its peculiarities.
The enterprise continues to flourish as hundreds of thousands of Nigerians within the low-income to middle-class bracket go for it forward of native textile as their buying energy for brand new clothes drops.
The way it started
Using second-hand clothes has been on for many years in Nigeria. It dates again to the early post-colonial interval when ships of used garments berthed on the Nigerian shores by way of Okrika, a sea port in current day Rivers State, Nigeria.
Though there is no such thing as a particular variety of clothes in a bale, the nation the place it comes from determines the load and value. On-line sources stated that China’s bales weigh 100kg whereas UK and Germany bales weigh 55kg.
Other than Katangua, different locations the place Okrika cloths will be bought in Lagos are the favored Area Warehouse in Oshodi, Alaba Worldwide Market, Badagry market, Tejuosho market and Aswani market.
Merchants of those used clothes deliver of their bales by way of neighbouring international locations and every price from between N80,000 and N150,000, relying on if they’re youngsters, girls or males’s wears.
The clothes that are generally imported into Africa’s most populous nation are trousers in denim denims, blazers, shirts, skirts, fits, boxers, mufflers, stockings face caps, costume fits, night wears, marriage ceremony robes, swimsuits, brassieres, pants, leggings, panty hose, camisoles and tights blouses, sweaters, denims, slip-on together with child wears.
Why it’s fashionable
Akube material afford many Nigerians the advantages of buying high quality clothes on very low price range, particularly as financial crunch bites tougher on residents’ buying energy.
The clothings additionally meet on a regular basis Nigerian’s thirst for designer wears with fashionable manufacturers like Tommy Hilfiger, Environment, Hugo Boss, Polo, Ralph Lauren and so on. on supply.
Though Nigeria produces textiles and ready-to-wear clothings, they’re costlier than the used ones and are of decrease high quality, in keeping with individuals who patronise second-hand clothes.
“I’ve been shopping for them since college. I began getting pleated skirts and regularly tops. I go for it as a result of it’s cheaper and I get fortunate to get good ones. Though I’ve purchased a number of dangerous ones,” Fikayo Babalola stated, noting that she would nonetheless want the second-hand clothes forward of native clothes no matter her monetary standing.
“One other factor is that one hardly will get greater than one of many similar material in contrast to new ones. What I do is I purchase Okrika and get new ones as nicely however extra of Okrika,” she stated, including that “They’re of fine high quality as nicely and have grades, relying on what you possibly can afford.”
Low-cost, however they arrive in grades
In a rustic with over 200 million inhabitants and the best variety of poor folks on this planet, second-hand clothes turns into the best choice primarily based on its affordability.
As low cost as it might sound, costs of second-hand clothes fluctuate primarily based on their sorts and high quality.
The imports are sometimes packaged in grades, which determines their value. Often first grades are most costly, whereas final grades are most cost-effective and may go for as little as N100.
Whereas a regionally made robe shirt will go for hundreds of naira, Okrika could go for as little as N500 with much less frequent design and materials.
“Okrika is dear at occasions particularly if they’re nonetheless very new. One skirt can price like a thousand naira and similar goes for the tops, [but] It’s extra of like, first come, first serve. However I don’t purchase okirika underwears, I want new ones attributable to hygiene,” stated Abiola Adeluola, a scholar.
“For over 10 years now, I purchase second hand garments and at occasions new ones as a result of Nigerian made don’t final lengthy, it’s both the color will get light or the garments get larger after washing. Nigerian made high quality is nothing to write down house about at occasions, it’s sheer luck.”
For Ms Adeluola who would charge Okrika eight on a scale of 1-10, she would “nonetheless go for first grade okrika,” even when she has all the cash, however could think about getting, ready-mades “if they’re of fine high quality.”
CBN’s pushback on garments importation
In March 2019, the Central Financial institution of Nigeria (CBN) imposed restrictions on international alternate entry to importers of textiles and different clothes supplies.
In accordance with the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, the restriction was to revive the nation’s textile trade to make sure development.
“Accordingly, all FOREX sellers in Nigeria are to desist from granting any importer of textile materials entry to foreign exchange within the Nigerian Overseas Change market,” he stated.
“You recognize the CBN doesn’t carry weapons, arms or should be on the border posts however we all know what we are going to do to make it tough for these smugglers to herald these issues into Nigeria and we are going to unfold these to you.”
“So once we make it tough for them to smuggle these issues into the nation, it opens the marketplace for you in order that those that would have gone to purchase these issues might be compelled to come back to you,” he stated.
Though, the federal government’s coverage is focused to revive the nation’s ailing textile trade, majority of Nigerians want reasonably priced and good high quality cloths.
Second-hand clothes is likely to be an obstacle to the native trade, but it surely creates options for poor Nigerians and even the center class.
‘It’s all in regards to the financial system,’ skilled says
Monetary analyst Jide Ojo dismissed claims that regionally made clothes are off low high quality, however attributed the unaffordability to the excessive price of working companies in Nigeria.
“The regionally made materials from analysis are sometimes of top of the range and sturdy however the price of doing enterprise in Nigeria could be very excessive and in case you have a look at the rising price, which is why there’s all the time a reported name for technique of doing enterprise,” Mr Ojo stated.
“The truth that folks embrace second-hand clothes with all of the well being dangers is borne out of the truth that it supplies options for them, it’s all in regards to the financial system. The actual fact stays that the rising price of doing enterprise regionally intensifies price. Many of those are literally clothes which are donated to charity which discover their technique to Nigeria and folks find yourself utilizing it for enterprise after packaging.
“I recall that getting regionally made adire are often extra sturdy, however most of those garment industries have collapsed. There was a report that Kaduna used to have 10 textile mills, however as we speak just one is working as a result of we now have rising prices of doing enterprise, in order that they’re now not aggressive.
“There’s one other concern of dunking, I imply in case you’re speaking of international items which are new, generally they dunk it and make it cheaper in Nigeria as a result of they need to kill native industries and have full management of the market. However speaking about used clothes that’s donated to charity overseas, a few of our folks discover it handy to move it down and promote it at a excessive value. And I believe it’s the pricing that make folks purchase it and never due to the standard.”
“For those who have a look at our personal clothes made in Abba, they’re as sturdy because the international ones, however you possibly can’t evaluate the price,” Mr Ojo concluded.