Friday, April 23, 2010


So a lot of the clothing that Malawians wear is used and comes from South Africa, Europe and the US. Here's an example of a used clothes market. The name for used clothes is Kaungika which means piles. And the clothes are mostly sold in piles but some higher end items like these are hung up.

They don't generally have any idea about what is written on their shirts, its always funny to see a Malawian walking in the village with a Red Sox tee, or a muscle-y young man wearing a "Lady Chargers" or a pink "Rush Delta Delta Delta" shirt etc. Here's a cute girl wearing a cheerleader Halloween costume for example. To her its just a shiny dress:

They don't have any idea about brand names and labels and pick their clothes based on fit and durability (shocking I know). And in terms of style I get the impression that things that are kind of showy are embraced because they connote wealth. That's why many little kids wear these princess-type shiny dresses made out of very cheap fabric.

Anyway,  I did triple take at the site yesterday when I saw this:

Can't put that in context? Howssssabout a little help:
 That's right. Some Malawian woman is walking around with a $150 tote bag. Which I'm sure she'd gladly trade for a bag with sequins on it. Kind of makes me feel (rightly) silly about our national obsession with brands and prestige.

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