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The Global North: The Power of Reclaiming Creativity Over Consumption


The largest second-hand clothing market in West Africa is in the city of Accra, in the state of Ghana. The market is filled with importers, market stalls and retailers, as well as bales designer clothes upon bales of second-hand clothes.

You can not simply consume what you are told to: ‘Need a dress?’ at the retail environment of Kantamanto. Here! Take this one. We have 100 more like that. This is not a person named Kantamanto. It is not a pill for sugar consumption. It is a hub of creativity and upcycling.

The way that people in the USA and Europe dress is different from that of the people in the country of origin. Liz Ricketts, co-founding the non-profit organisation The OR Foundation with Branson Skinner, said that the shoppers in the country have a less transactional relationship with fashion than Americans.

Liz has a background in fashion and is familiar with creative approaches to clothing. She studied fashion design at the University of Cincinnati and watched as many brilliant creatives couldn’t cope with the increasing number of collections they were being asked to create. It was sad to watch them sad about the end of their relationships with their customers.

She was angry about how fashion intersects with geopolitics, how overconsumption wreaks havoc on our mental health and how the norms of fashion perpetuate white supremacy when she graduated in 2010.

Liz and I talked about the power of creativity over consumption and a model of sustainable living that the Global North would do well to learn.

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