Used garments dumped in India via ships from East Asian countries are most sought after in Northeast Indian states of Nagaland, Meghalaya, Mizoram and others with the demand for these goods surging in at early October and lasting till the end of the winters.
While a second-hand jacket can be bought for as cheap as Rs 150 at the beginning of December in Nagaland, the rates dip to as low as Rs 5-10 on eve of Christmas , said local cloth sellers.
“During the pre-Christmas period you can get anything from socks to a jacket to a pair of jeans for as cheap as Rs 5. The hawkers will shout the cheap rates out,” said seller Shelly Kemp in central Kohima’s second-hand market.
“Inke parab Christmas ke time sabse zyaada sale hota hai, fir humare Bihar chale jaatey hai (Most sales of old clothes are mostly during before Christmas, after which I return my home in Bihar,” said Jaikar Sahani, a migrant old-garment seller.
Korean clothes being of better quality are the most sought after and also cost the most in wholesale. Small retailers have to buy old clothes in 50 kg to 100 kg belts, rates of which depend on the quality of the clothes and their country of origin.
“A belt of 50 kg consignment of good Korean clothes can cost around Rs 1.2 lakh. Cheaper quality clothes cost from Rs 40,000 to Rs 70,000,” said wholesale dealer Hino Kali Sohe.
Meanwhile, customers are also very fond of the Korean clothes and prefer them over anything sourced from Guwahati or Siliguri.
“The Koreans have a great sense of fashion. Their clothes are very cool, and also very cheap. Why spend Rs 5,000 when you can the same product, albeit used at Rs 150 or Rs 200 and if lucky at even Rs 5,” said teen Christina Lotha with a wink.
The Northeast Indian states being a hilly region with no major production of modern textiles, costs of brand new clothes are very high which are sourced from metro Kolkata or cities like Guwahati in Assam and Siliguri in north Bengal. This, along with profound cultural influence of south Korean movies and soaps on the youth are said to be the major reasons for preference of used Korean textiles.
This ensures that wearing of used clothes does not become a social stigma or looked down upon by the people. “It is widely known and accepted that we wear used clothes from East Asia. There is no shame in it,” said Jennifer Awomi.
Source: the New Indian Express
Image: Representational image used from internet sources