Ethical fashion: Need for regulations in the second-hand clothing industry

Trade in Second-hand clothing (SHC) has existed for decades, the rise in fast fashion since the 1900’s and its resultant effects have however increased awareness and consciousness of SHC trading. As a solution to the increasing problem of textile waste caused by fast fashion, many scholars have proposed changes in consumer behaviour, an orientation to reuse, recycle and upcycle. This has caused a shift in consumer patterns with many choosing to purchase second-hand clothing solely for its ethical and environmental benefits. This has not always been the case, as hitherto second-hand clothing had been regarded as the purchase of the poor and lowly. In fact, in many societies this is still the case.

In Africa, Second-hand clothing has been both a commodity of necessity and a commodity of choice. Two seemingly opposing concepts but true, nonetheless. Africans for decades have purchased second-hand clothing for its economic value, hedonistic value and uniqueness/individuality. Economic value because of its affordability in comparison to local textiles and new garments. Hedonistic value because of the thrill of finding a great bargain for what might have otherwise cost a fortune. There is also the desire to purchase items that are considered one of a kind and rare to find.


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