How Malaysia started the secondhand clothing boom

Most second-hand clothing donors assume their garments’ final destination is the Goodwill and Salvation Army racks, where they can find a second life. However, according to Adam Minter, author of “Secondhand: Travels in the New Global Garage Sale,” thrift stores are often just the first stop on an international round-trip.

“Only about a third of what is on the shelf of an American thrift store,” said Mr. Minter, who has a home in Malaysia but now lives in Minnesota. Thrift stores sell excess clothing to clothing exporters in bulk, who then ship it around the world: “Your clothes in Fremont, California, can be delivered by truck or rail. to Houston, where it’s classified for Pakistan, India and Malaysia,” he said.

There, sellers can buy them cheaply and list them online. “You buy the package, you bring it back to the store, you open it, and you know, maybe if you’re lucky, there’s a nice designer piece of clothing in there that didn’t make it through the store screens. savings and sorting warehouse in Mississauga,” said Mr. Minter.

Today, a certain item of clothing – for example, a Nike hoodie – can be made in a factory in Taiwan or Bangladesh, sold to the United States, donated to Goodwill, shipped in packages to Malaysia, and then sold back to the US on Etsy. It’s a simple disparity: Buyers in the developed world will pay more for established brands than they do in the developing world, where wholesalers often sell in bulk. Goods are priced per kilogram.

According to the Observatory of Economic Complexity, which tracks international trade, the largest exporter of used clothing in 2019 (the most recent year for which data is available) was the United States, with a total exports is 720 million dollars. The top importers are Ukraine ($203 million), Pakistan ($189 million), Ghana ($168 million) and Kenya ($165 million). Total import turnover of Malaysia is 105 million USD. How Malaysia started the secondhand clothing boom

Fry Electronics Team

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