Kantamanto as we all know as ‘kanta or Kant’’ for short is the biggest marketplace for ‘second-hand’ clothing. Everything you can imagine or want is readily available with just a little time spent walking and searching for what you may grade to the best according to your standards.Talk of clothes, shoes, bags, accessories, hair, anything clothing and fashion and ‘kantamanto’ got you.
The fashion industry in Ghana has gradually climbed the ladder to style and class. A fine blend of authenticity, elegance and culture pieced together by the finest of talents into an epic masterpiece. The Ghanaian fashion industry is spreading its wings and flying across boundaries and borders as well to serve a fresh taste of its patterns. The Ghanaian fashion industry assembles the finest of its local fabrics and tailors them with the continental ones for an even amazing garment for the perfect event no matter the venue or time or even season.
However, just like the biblical reference, there are quite a number of Judas Iscariots in our fashion industries of which ‘kantamanto’ is crowned king and is reigning mightily. Most Ghanaians have become overly comfortable in the purchase of these ‘second-hand’ clothing and do not even care about its health or authentic requirements or effects. All that matters to them is that it’s cheap. What the masses are negligent about is, some of these clothes are centuries out dated and some are probably from garbage dumps and other ‘who-knows-from-where’ places. Some people even think of second-hand clothes as unique pieces one can’t find anywhere else. The bugging question though is, are we doing our fashion industry any good?
Aren’t these second-hand clothes meant for charities and orphanages? Why then are majority of Ghanaians devouring it so greedily? Meanwhile we have all these great Ghanaian fashion designers, tailors and seamstresses who spend long hours trying to decipher and pick the perfect fabric, color and designing an attire for the right event, time and person but at the end of the day, their time, expertise and talent are gone to waste or unappreciated.
Is it that most Ghanaians prefer the cheap unauthentic second-hand clothing because it’s cheap and easily picked without much hustle or it’s just lack of appreciation for our culture, originality and the finest things in life?
Another unwavering fact of the Ghanaian fashion industry is the cost involved in the production of these clothing. Most of the garments are designed and tailored to fit and produced on a low scale in the short run. Unlike the western fashion industry that produces on a large scale. Consequently, cost of production is broken down when the firm breaks even in the long run and this result in the items becoming cheaper. But in Ghana, garments are tailored to suit manually thus making customization and production costly and so for this reason, patronizing garments from Ghanaian designers, tailors and seamstresses is quite expensive but not so expensive the average Ghanaian cannot purchase. Shouldn’t our government be doing something about the high cost of importation to help our fashion industry grow?
The main reason fashion abroad is blooming is due to their sense of originality, belonging and culture. It is often said that the White have no culture but they do. Even if they borrowed ethics from other cultures and own it, as long as it is associated with them they have a culture. The White purchase products made by their kind and appreciate it. That is their secret.
In conclusion, I think it’s time Ghanaians start appreciating their culture and artefacts’ associated with it. Let’s appreciate the fact that good, authentic edifices are rare hence the value of time and money are placed on it. The best we as Ghanaians and Africans can do to elevate our culture and continent is to buy what we produce and manufacture ourselves in our countries and stop importing ‘garbage from abroad’.
We only build citadels of pride and an enriched culture for our children and nationality when we honor our own.
BY: PRISCA WOEDEM