Nina Murden - The Lewes Seamstress

SECOND HAND CLOTHES IMPORT BAN IN EAST AFRICA

People believe that the clothes donated to charity will be given to those in need or sold in those charity shops to raise funds and don’t realise that their donations will be traded abroad for profit.

http://www.economist.com/news/middle-east-and-africa/21695877-government-takes-aim-well-meaning-foreigners-let-them-weave-their-ownMitumba

Here’s a an interesting article from the economist about the complications inherent in the journey that our second hand clothes take, where they end up, and what that means for their local textile and fashion economy, but also who else gains in profit and employment. It’s complicated!  Kenya used to have a textile industry in the 60’s/ 70’s but that’s now gone because the second hand clothes from the developed world mean it’s not economically viable.  Cotton and wool mills have shut down.  South Africa actually have a ban already and they have a flourishing textile industry. 70% of our charity shop donations do end up being exported. We are the second biggest exporter of used clothes, and export $602m worth of the stuff , mostly to Africa.  Actually  demand for the clothes sold in charity shops here  is low compared to supply.  I still think we’d all be better off buying less, buying better and mending stuff a few times before the end of it’s life.