ISLAMABAD: The sale of winter clothes, especially second-hand items, is experiencing a surge in popularity, with numerous stalls featuring woollens appearing in various areas of the federal capital.
This growing trend in the second-hand market is poised to surpass fast fashion in the coming years. Weekly Sunday bazaars showcase an abundance of second-hand quilts, blankets, and rugs, providing an economical alternative to new purchases.
One of the primary advantages of opting for second-hand clothing is the significant cost savings compared to buying brand-new items. These bazaars offer a wide range of winter wear and accessories, including gloves, woolen hats, mufflers, pullovers, sweaters, shirts, and jackets. People from diverse economic backgrounds can be seen thronging markets and Sunday bazaars, engaging in bargaining activities with retailers.
According to the World Economic Forum, the market value of second hand clothing reached $24 billion in 2018 and is anticipated to double by the mid-2020s. Despite the affordability aspect traditionally associated with second-hand clothing, some buyers express frustration due to rising prices in these bazaars.
Stallholders, like Ahmed Ali, emphasize the availability of imported clothes at economical prices, providing a means to cater to the fashion preferences of the middle-class and white-collar segments of society. While prices for second-hand winter items have witnessed a notable increase, sellers claim they are operating with minimal profit margins amid the prevailing price hike situation in the country.
Interestingly, the market for second-hand items extends beyond economically disadvantaged individuals, as even middle-class and affluent shoppers frequent these stalls. Some choose second-hand shopping as a response to economic challenges, while others opt for sustainability reasons, avoiding the high prices and potentially lower-quality materials associated with new branded items.
The second-hand clothing available in these bazaars is often imported from countries like China, the United States, and Canada. Pakistan has a well-established second hand market, with clothing being a prominent feature in its “second-hand clothes markets.” Considering the country’s large young population and increasing internet penetration, there is potential for digital platforms to play a role in expanding and modernizing this market.
Individuals like Fayaz Khan, a digital expert, see an opportunity to bridge the gap between global fashion trends and local accessibility. In particular, young people are drawn to online platforms where they can find trendy items, including those from renowned brands, at a fraction of the cost of new counterparts. Zara, a student and second-hand clothes stall holder, emphasizes the affordability and variety of imported clothes available in these bazaars, making them accessible to a broad segment of society.