Thrifting a new fashion in town

• By Martha Nangombe

FROM spending time at street markets, to attending trendy wardrobe exchanges that offer great opportunities to add fabulous items to ones’ closet, gone are the days where people excessively spent a lot of time and money on expensive clothing which did not always guarantee a banging outfit.

Today’s fashion lovers are ditching expensive clothing lines, spending less, and focusing more on cheaper ways of adding to their wardrobes, while keeping up with the latest trends, all this within their budget.

When it comes to second-hand shopping, many overlook the benefits they offer because of the negative perceptions that come with buying second-hand vintage clothing such as products being shabby or unhygienic.

This is where wardrobe exchange comes in!

But what is wardrobe exchange?

Wardrobe exchange is a place where fashion lovers sell items from their wardrobe at a cheaper price.

It is a great way of avoiding a piling up of clothes that they hardly wear. When it comes to second-hand clothes, dealers are able to purchase bundles at very affordable rates, which means the customer spends less, leaving more money for other essentials.

Alina who owns a vintage store in Ongwediva told Confidente that she sells vintage clothing as another form of income to support herself and encourages unemployed youth to take up thrifting as a source of income.

“I have been in the thrifting business for a while now and at the beginning it was not easy obtaining loyal customers”, Alina said.

“But after I started marketing my business and posting on social media, more people started noticing my business and that is how I grew the following that I have now,” Alina stated.

Elizabeth Ndapewa Valombola, owner of Twihaleni Vintage Boutique explained that that the selling of second-hand clothing has increased and there is a lot of competition.

“Selling vintage clothing is a good business to venture in but lately it has become challenging. I would sell N$ 5000 a week but right now ever since Covid-19 hit, things just changed and more people are selling vintage clothing.

Angolan currency has no value and at the end of the day you end up spending more money, custom fee and transport all the way to Namibia”, Valombola said.

Some of the main suppliers of vintage clothing are Angolan based nationals

Jacobin Shihepo a customer of Twihaleni Vintage Boutique said she prefers buying second-hand clothing because it is cheaper and lasts longer compared to clothes bought in stores.

“The buying and selling of second-hand clothing has increased and the latest fashion trends that come from wearing vintage pants and shirts. I buy vintage clothing because they are cheap and of good quality and it does not really damage your pockets,”

Ndatala Angula, founder of Thriftalot, said that the thrifting industry has expanded.

He said one can find a lot of thrifting boutiques on social media all around the country.

“I would say the thrifting industry has expanded, there are quite a number of people selling thrifted clothing now as compared to when I started in 2018. You now get online boutiques distributing thrifted items either in bulk or individually in Windhoek or around Namibia”, Angula said.

“On average, one can make a decent amount of money by selling thrifted items because clothing plays an essential role in society. We have a limited number of clothing retailers in the Namibian industry which means the variety of clothing is few. Thrifting gives people the opportunity to find unique items, and a thrifted clothes seller sells unique items, they will make a decent income from it. It also lays with the marketing of one’s business. The more futuristic and relevant one is, the easier it is to attract and retain clients,” Angula further remarked.