kottke.org posts about haiti

Secondhand clothes in HaitiMay 15 2008

An interview with the makers of a film about secondhand clothing in Haiti.

Shell says Haitians sometimes dress better than Americans because they are used to tailoring their secondhand clothes to fit. While the pepe market makes it difficult for Haitian tailors to sell their own designs or traditional fashions; the cheap cost means, as one woman in the documentary explains, they can "adopt the look that is on television without much effort."

Most of the clothes come from the United States.

Update: Secondhand clothing imports to Zambia killed the clothing industry there:

Mark O'Donnell, spokesperson for Zambian Manufacturers, explains that in 1991, when the country's markets were opened to free trade, container load after container load of used clothing began to arrive in Zambia, undercutting the cost of the domestic manufacturers and putting them out of business. The skills, the infrastructure and the capital of an entire industry are now virtually extinct, with not a single clothing manufacturer left in the country today.

(thx, tj)

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