Investigating second-hand fashion trade and consumption in the Philippines: Expanding existing discourses

by Veronica L. Isla


By investigating the second hand clothing trade and consumption discourse in the Philippines, this paper enlarges existing global knowledge and serves as an initial attempt to map this phenomenon in South East Asia. It argues that regional and national opinions could be located in a continuum. At one end is a noticeably modern and functional outlook, and on the other is a distinctly postmodern and constructionist perspective. It shows that a nation’s particular discourse is an expression of its socio-economic context. However, since the used clothing trade is a global phenomenon that transcends national boundaries, used clothing traders, retailers, and consumers unite in challenging the beliefs driven by institutions that regulate and compete with this trade. The response of these institutions has blurred the boundaries separating the formal and informal, the legal and illegal, and the Philippines exemplifies this.

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