Is your old t-shirt hurting African economies?

Story highlights

Previously owned clothing is big business in Africa

But mass influx of second-hand clothes from the West damages local industries

Designers say cast-offs are preventing their businesses from growing

Several African countries have banned imports of second-hand clothes

CNN  — 

Inside one of the many busy open markets in Kampala, rows of hanged trousers and dresses swing in midair, casting a shadow over the colorful stacks of unsorted clothes sitting on rickety wooden stalls.

Amidst the hustle and bustle, bargain-hunting shoppers rummage through the large piles of printed t-shirts, short-sleeved blouses and retro jackets in search of a great deal.

This is the Ugandan capital’s version of a thrift store, fully stocked with second-hand garments from the West. Here, European-made clothing, American sports jerseys and designer labels are all offered at discount prices, turning second-hand markets like this into a prime destination for cheap garments.

“Things from U.S. and UK, London, they are nice,” says Karol, owner of a local second-hand market stall. “My customers keep on coming.”