5 top facts about secondhand clothes (okirika) you need to know

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by Staff writer

It appears a lot of people have lots of misconceptions about secondhand clothes, popularly known as okirika in Nigeria.

Here are some things about secondhand clothes you might want to know:

1. Not all secondhand clothes have been worn before

Contrary to popular belief, never-been-worn secondhand clothes exist. Some secondhand clothes are clothes donated to charity or clothes resold by people who bought them and it didn’t fit. There are also occasions where designer clothes that sit too long on the sales racks of fashion stores are sent to stores that will sell them as second-hand stores.

2. Not all secondhand clothes are cheap

Some grades of secondhand clothes come from top designers like Prada, Gucci, Calvin Klein, Tom Ford, etc, and are really very expensive. Some of them are even costlier than regular new clothes (especially those new clothes that come from China) so it is not true that it is only poor people that wear secondhand clothes.

3. Secondhand clothes are 100% safe

Quite often you hear people saying secondhand clothes are unsafe to wear and can predispose one to skin infections and all. But this is completely false as secondhand clothes undergo almost same packaging and shipping conditions new clothes go through. Just like new clothes, it is also advisable to wash secondhand clothes before wearing them.

4. Secondhand clothes are very durable

Some people are of the opinion that secondhand clothes do not last. Again, this is untrue as most secondhand clothes come from top fashion brands known for their high quality products. You should also know that secondhand clothes come in grades and the better the grade the more money you pay for them.

5. Secondhand clothes do not come from China

The largest exporters of used clothing are the USA, followed by the UK, Germany and the Netherlands.

The world largest importers of used clothing are Sub-Saharan African countries like Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya, receiving over 25% of global second-hand clothing exports.

Some countries, like Philippines and India have banned the import of secondhand clothes, in order to protect their local textile industry.

Other countries like Pakistan, Uganda or South Africa, which have a flourishing Textile Industry, have limited or no restrictions.


South Africa, for example, allows the import of second-hand/pre-owned clothing only for charitable purposes and not for commercial resale.

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