Second Hand.

One of the last activities of the clothing distribution cycle, the giving away of clothing, getting rid of old style, hand me down, passing on; Second hand clothing.  I was interested to know more about how this process works here in London in contrast to Kampala; my home country.

The investigation started at the charity shop and led to the vintage shop. Quite quickly, a hierarchy in selection, display, organisation and pricing emerged. The latter at  a higher advantage than the former; highlighted in the images and text that follow.

Charity shop;

The name almost describes the way in which the items would be handled. As they get dropped off in refuse bags, shop attendants start the sorting process especially during the latter hours of the work day. There was a staggering sense of the ‘unwanted’ in these spaces. Though I’m sure more often than not, nothing goes to waste as the items there are much cheaper in comparison to the vintage shop a reminder of a less fussy Owino market in Kampala. Which makes one’s experience through them a rather swift one; in and out rarely lingering. Primark and other fast fashion brands were spread out like wildfire throughout these shops.


Vintage market;

Orderly and organised with several single business owners taking up show space. There collections comprise of a mixture of high fashion brands to independent brands. rarely will you find items from the fast fashion cycle. Since most of these clothes are carefully sourced from both local suppliers and collectors as well as international used clothing markets all over Europe; Belgium, France, Italy; the price is still considerable regardless of the clothes being used. Care is taken into the showing of the garments and creativity applied to maximise space through unexpected surfaces; the electric conduit for one was most intriguing though not surprising as most of the traders at the stalls hope to own a store of there own someday. Real passion and creativity is explored in these spaces. Definitely in contrast to the somewhat inanimate set up at some of the fast fashion departmental stores.

High street;

The half denim jacket as a display station was both functional and aesthetic. People surrounded them and also  observed the owner tinker with these recycled pins adapting them for attachment to cloth.

  • ii_denim

35 years in business;

Had the most interesting conversation with one of the vintage shop owners who has been in the business for over 35 years. the confidence in his product is enviable, he did not once try to sell any of his collection which stirred up curiosity all the more, till it led me to the best pair of recycled leather gloves. A bonus was there sensitivity to touchscreen; which I found out later. Got me wondering about the wealth of knowledge this shop owner has about the used clothes circuit; the contact base, the networks, the people he must have encountered over three decades in business.

It is always the hardest seeing what a system that encourages wastefulness does, bright side is the ingenuity and creativity people exhibit even within the toughest of environments.




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