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Thursday 11th of August 2022

Nairobi, Kenya

Ghana’s Fashion Revolution Is Centered On The Secondhand Market.

Posted On : August 4, 2022

Fashion Police

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The largest secondhand market in Ghana, Kantamanto, is inspiring a new generation of designers to support a local fashion scene.
Tourism is big in Ghana, where I’m from, especially now that more people are coming to celebrate Detty December. The country’s emerging creative scenes, including those in the arts, music, and fashion, have yet to be fully investigated.

Recently, the fashion industry in particular has flourished in this country as more and more young people take an interest in it and work to develop a style culture that is distinctive to their country.

Although they are affected by western media, local fashion creatives have learned to expand on what they observe there. Due to the lack of retail presence of the majority of the glamorized popular American and European brands in Ghana, designers and stylists in Accra have not only drawn on their ingenuity to create something out of nothing, but have also excelled in doing so.

However, the expansion of our fashion ecosystem is not just dependent on the creativity of these individuals but also on a market that existed much before the fashion revolution. Ghana’s largest secondhand market is located at Kantamanto. It is the go-to location for inexpensive clothing and is credited with popularizing the phrase “Obroni Wawu,” which translates to “Dead Man’s Clothes.”

All of these garments rest in Kantamanto Market, which is also a source for designer goods and uncommon fabrics.
Accra now has a strong thrift culture thanks to Kantamanto. Everyone can readily access the market, making it convenient for those looking for trendy accessories to make a quick trip and purchase what they require.
Adom Gee, a self-taught stylist and designer, travels to Kantamanto at least three times every week since he needs to buy fabric there for his clothing line, “Adom Gee The Brand.” “Walking around Kantamanto really gives me the inspiration to produce more,” he says.

He has experience in the fashion industry and is familiar with every corner of this vast market to get what he needs, but even he acknowledges that “you never know what you will arrive and find here.”

“I feel like Kantamanto will forever be a relevant part of Ghana’s fashion ecosystem” – Larley Lartey

As one of the up-and-coming designers, Adom is appreciative of markets like Kantamanto that enable him to design unique items for his business. His style of the Ghanaian rapper Kwesi Arthur and his African-inspired brand designs are starting to gain him recognition.

Speaking with model-turned-stylist Larley Lartey in Accra, she revealed that she first encountered Kantamanto during her school years, when she always aspired to be the coolest person in the room.

I distinctly recall leaving senior high school in the middle of a class to go to Kantamanto and buy some clothes because I wanted to stand out. In her styling job, Larley produces the looks she sees in her head using Kantamanto, whether she buys a specific piece of clothing or makes it from scratch with fabric she finds in the market.
However, as more individuals join her in using Kantamanto for their fashion requirements, she regrets that “the demand is larger than the supply.” Lartley now works with several well-known Ghanaian musicians, including as Stonebwoy and King Promise, and she hopes to work with foreign musicians like Dua Lipa or Kali Uchis in the future.

Nutifafa is a multihyphenate creative who works as a model, stylist, creative director, and environmentalist. She takes pride in having a distinctive viewpoint that doesn’t just follow the latest trends. Young and newly arrived in Accra, she rapidly observed that the majority of locals were simply copying what they were seeing in the west at the moment.
However, she dared to stand out and has distinguished herself in her field. Her unconventional approach to fashion has been the secret to her success in the industry as she has worked on fashion projects in a variety of positions, including styling and creative directing. Because she openly claims that the majority of her clothing is secondhand from the market, Kantamanto serves as the foundation for Nutifafa.

You may discover your sense of style at Kantamanto, she claims. Even while Kantamanto has its advantages, Nutifafa is concerned about the effects the tons of clothing that arrive each week will have on the environment. She promotes recycling and repurposing of clothing through her company Upcycled Ghana in an effort to stop this.
“Kantamanto is the source for all the high-end apparel products we typically wouldn’t have access to,” – Style in Drip Drip
Champagne, 40K Phyll, and Webster are the three buddies who make up the collective Drip Drip Styling, which is swiftly rising to prominence in the field. When they first met at Kantamanto, they shared the aim of earning money by selling used clothing, but they have since become well-known personalities in the styling sector.

The group explains how simple it is for them to locate uncommon apparel in bales. As a fan of Prada bags, 40K displays some merchandise from the high-end company he found while thrifting. When describing some of the difficulties they encounter, Champagne remarks that “the quality of the things that come presently in the bales is declining.” Despite certain difficulties, the lads credit their success in styling in part to the easily accessible sector they operate in.

In addition to styling some well-known figures in the African music industry, the trio is expanding into designing for a brand they have founded called D2 Essentials.

Content courtesy of Dazed Digital & NHF

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