Every year tons of unwanted clothes are donated to charity, thrift or Op shops.
But where do they actually go? It turns out most don’t ever reach the rail of the local shop, they are exported overseas. And even though they have given away for free, these castoffs have created a multimillion-pound industry and some of the world’s poorest people pay good money to buy them.
In this revealing film for BBC World News, Ade Adepitan travels to Ghana, the biggest importer of castoffs to tell the fascinating story of the afterlife of donated clothes. Ade meets the people who make a living from the old castoffs, from wholesalers and markets traders to the importers raking in a staggering Ł25,000 a day.
But not everyone is profiting. With cheaply made western clothes flooding the market, the local textile industry has been decimated. Ade visits one of the last remaining cloth factories and finds it on its knees. And the deluge of second hand clothes isn’t just destroying jobs, it has also had a seismic effect on Ghanaian culture.
Western outfits are fast replacing iconic West African prints and traditional garb. Ade travels to remote villages to find everyone wearing high street brands.
This World – The Secret Life of Your Clothes
Broadcasting on BBC World News (all times GMT)
Saturday January 3rd 09.10, 20.10
Sunday January 4th 02.10, 15.10
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