The number one distinguishing feature of second hand clothing in Ghana is the smell. It used to be the price, but currently one can’t tell the difference anymore between, second hand clothing and brand new clothing. They are both very expensive now, the cloth dealers are now also pegging their prices to the dollar. This means that one does not necessarily ought to have a PhD in tight monetary policy to understand foreign exchange depreciation.
For those unaware, second clothing shipped to Ghana all have a unique distinct smell. A sort of indescribable tingy smell you never smell anywhere else. Yes for over 3 or so decades the second hand clothing in Ghana all have this unique smell. This scent is not washed away easily. And especially for those who do not want to be associated with wearing second hand clothing this could prove to be quite embarrassing to them. Because the scent is so recognisable by everybody, even those who claim they’ve never worn one of these second hands.(hmm I wonder how they got to know)). So when one gets a first class selection of second hands (usually from Kant or TS) the first thing which comes to mind is the cleansing aspect. You get home and try it on again in a full length mirror to see how well it fits.(Because second hand dealers have no business for trying it on- you buy based on your gut instincts alone).’caveat emptor’- It’s a buyer beware sort of thing. You pray it fits well or it doesn’t have a fault which have been cleverly hidden from you by the seller.. yes they can do this very well and you’d ask yourself how come you never saw the flaw at the time of sale.))
After a couple of fashion critics at home agree with you that this is definitely a good fit of “London wear”, you go a get a bucket and strong home washing detergent to do a thorough washing till all traces of that second hand aroma is done with.
Very often after all omo, key soap , first and second washing and the smell/odour still remains. Show me a longer lasting perfume and I’ll buy it. After, you have to dry the clothes in a well ventilated area for the African sun to do its job. Mind you its only a second hand with less than half a life- if care is not taken, in the attempt to get rid of the odour, the life of the second hand attire will give up. So you don’t wash it too much..
Another way of getting rid of this unwashable smell is simply to wear it, yes it works, just put it on at home for a day or 2 before you do the washing, it makes it more simpler.
By the way can you imagine if someone decides to change this second hand smell/odour/scent? I bet it would not be the same anymore wearing them. It would be the end of an era, how would you know that what you are buying is actually from Yankee/London and not from China or those Togo cheap-fake-imitation- last only 1 week shada?