How Paris bought a style for second-hand model from Africa

Client modelling a Marche Noir vintage dress

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Alexandre Bancharel

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Unloved cast-offs despatched to Togo’s markets by charity outlets in Europe are given a second life by a canny classic supplier in Paris.


“They’re sending them to Africa and most of it we do not want right here – like coats and furs. I choose it with my guys, ship it again to Europe and we promote it,” says Amah Ayivi.

A lot of it’s unsold inventory of charity store donations, costing lower than $1 (£zero.81) every.


“Largely what I would like, individuals do not buy,” says Mr Ayivi.

But some items will go on to promote for as a lot as 200 euros ($220; £178) at his Marché Noir idea retailer within the French capital.

Amah Ayivi wearing Marche Noir on streets of Paris with friends

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Amah Ayivi

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Most objects are sourced from Grand Marché de Hedzranawoe, a serious hub for the commerce in used clothes in Togo’s capital, Lomé.

Mr Ayivi, who has lived in France for the reason that age of 12, spent his early years in Togo, the place he returns a number of occasions a 12 months to purchase inventory.

He says he ships a staggering 4 tonnes of clothes again to Europe every time.

Amah walking through Hezranawoe Market

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Andrew Esiebo

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Amah at work in Hedzranawoe Market in Lome

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Andrew Esiebo

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Amah selecting scarves at Hedzranawoe Market

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Andrew Esiebo

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“On the ground you at all times discover treasures,” says Mr Ayivi.

“The garment I am shopping for principally is the blue employee jacket as a result of it is one thing that you could put on on a regular basis.”

Amah Ayivi selects a blue worker jacket.

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Ijeoma Ndukwe

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Amah Ayivi inspects rows of blue worker jackets.

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Andrew Esiebo

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A tailor customises the salvaged clothing.

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Andrew Esiebo

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Objects are cleaned, restored and generally customised earlier than they go on sale in Paris.

Prospects say they just like the “distinctive” garments and “world outlook”, says Mr Ayivi.

“We strive with model to not educate, however to point out individuals what you are able to do with what you have got.

“Give it to me and I will present you learn how to put on it with out shopping for one other one.”

Amah styling a client in a vintage blue worker jacket

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Andrew Esiebo

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Amah styling a client in Paris

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Andrew Esiebo

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Shoppers are more and more asking in regards to the sustainability of the style business – which specialists say is the second-biggest polluter of water globally.

Maybe Mr Ayivi’s idea of repackaging African stylish from European cast-offs is one antidote for quick trend.

Clothes are seen on the rails of the Marche Noir shop in Paris.

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Andrew Esiebo

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A customer makes a purchase at the till in Marche Noir.

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Andrew Esiebo

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Pictures courtesy of Alexandre Bancharel, Amah Ayivi, Andrew Esiebo and Ijeoma Ndukwe.