KONGOWEA - Kenya imports more than 100,000 tonnes of second-hand clothes



In today’s post on our blog, I would like to talk about sustainability.

The general definition of it is :




1. the ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level.

"the sustainability of economic growth"

o avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance.

"the pursuit of global environmental sustainability"

Easy enough, all brands now claim that they go sustainable by going eco ,using natural fabrics and God forbid never pack in plastic .

But where exactly starts sustainability . Should we go backwards, all the way to the production or origin of the fabrics ? Or maybe all the way forward, what happens to over produced garments or oversold clothing. Yes, I do understand fashion brands need to make money. But how much money is enough ? When or where does it end ? I will tell you. In Africa.

There are some long-established recycling systems in place across Europe. Municipal governments have established centers where people can drop off their old clothes and there are numerous charity shops and collection organizations aiming to give unwanted clothes and shoes a new home and save them from ending up in rubbish dumps.

But what happens to your clothes? Every year, Kenya imports more than 100,000 tonnes of second-hand clothes or mitumba from all around the world. Some of the good-quality clothes get sold and reused, but an estimated 35,000 tonnes are thrown away and end up in overflowing landfill sites like Dandora, Africa's biggest, in eastern Nairobi.

With around 50 percent of Nairobi's population living below the poverty line and surviving on around $1 a day, buying second-hand clothing can be the only affordable option, with many people dependent on selling second-hand clothes. But there has been a growing problem of rejected garments ending up in rivers, leading to calls for a ban on the import of second-hand clothes, as Rwanda has implemented.

But let’s come a little bit closer to Sewing Together location. In Mombasa we a have market called Kongowea . It’s one of the largest fresh produce market in Kenya. But not only. As you walk around you notice that it’s fully stranded by booths with piles and I mean it piles of second hand clothing, home accessories even hats , shoes and belts.

What one mans rubbish the other ones treasure

And that’s how it is for us.

To help the environment and in a spirit of sustainability together with Judy Gitonga, we are trying to implement second hand clothing and bed sheet to create something new and fresh in our collections. Our goal is for you to never guess what it was before.

Our process might be time consuming but it’s worth it. We spend hours on the market looking for the best pieces. Then they are taken home to be washed, dyed, painted , sewn and offered to you in best way possible .

We will let you be the judge !( images at the bottom )

Sometimes our product might be expensive, but it's worth.

By purchasing our product you are helping us , our school and the environment.




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