By Maja Tuljkovic – Sarajevo
In the last few years in B&H, a large number of second hand shops opened, and people are frequenting second hand stores more than in boutiques with marked brands. In some cities, there are markets where citizens sell their clothing or furniture during the weekend. This shows the state of the purchasing power of the population, as well as the fact that their priorities in spending money have changed.
Several years ago, whoever wore second hand clothing was considered strange, misunderstood, and it was often thought to be shameful to say that you are wearing clothes that are not new, that someone else before you wore. However, year after year this trend is changing, which is evidenced by many shops that sell used and worn clothes. In these stores, everything can be found, from small items, to large feathered jackets, ski suits and the like. The owners of these shops confirms that buying ‘second hand’ is no longer considered a disgrace, and their visitors are students, retirees, professors, doctors and lawyers.
B&H is a poor country, and close to 80 percent of the population lives with minimal income. This is why buying second hand stuff is inevitable, and it would not be logical to buy something that is not aligned with financial capabilities. According to data from the Indirect Taxation Authority, in 2012 B&H imported 2800 tons of ‘’battered and worn’’ clothing in the value of 50,2 million BAM. Most was imported from Germany, valued at around 2,2 million BAM, and followed by the Netherlands, Switzerland, Canada, Poland and England.
According to Gordana Bulić, President of the Union of Consumers’ Association of B&H, the expansion of buying second hand clothing and shoes shows that the pockets of B&H citizens are empty.
‘’Of course the data from the UIO B&H is accurate. Large amounts of second hand goods enter B&H. Some are official, and some enter through black market channels. The transportation of these goods is on the rise, because every day there are more and more people living in poverty’’, said Bulić.
However, citizens say that there are many advantages of buying things in these stores. In addition to the cheaper price of clothes and shoes, the items are often of better quality than what can be found in stores that sell new clothing.
On the other hand, going to second hand shops is a kind of psychotherapy, where people relax and do not think about their every day problems, with lack of money being one of them. If often happens that for 25 Euros, citizens are able to buy an entire outfit, because the average price of a T-shirt is 1,5 Euros, 2,5 Euros for a shirt, 4 Euros for pants, 5 Euros for a sweater and 7,5 Euros for a jacket.
Given the difficult economic situation in the country, the opening of new second hand stores is understandable and inevitable, when one considers the number of unemployed people in B&H. Internet and online shops have further led to the popularity of used clothes, so more and more young people have merged the comfortable and enjoyable with the useful. With a love towards clothing and fashion, young people are turning to the sale of discounted clothes, for which they can afford with their modest monthly incomes.