I grew up knowing the word Boskona which is coined from the yoruba word “Bosi”( get in) and the English word” “Corner”, means second hand clothes sold by Igbo traders in heaps scattered on the ground. I had a boskona pullover which my grandmother got for me when I was 9. I still remember just like yesterday, when I wore it and I was strutting round the house, my uncle saw me and remarked only okrika could look that good. I was pained he thought of my beautiful pullover as cheap but I went on strutting anyway. I complained to my grandmother and she shrugged as she said ‘when she I was working in Lagos, wives of ministers, honourables would park their car somewhere and sit inside stalls with traders of used clothes bargaining prices while huge sacks are carried into the boots of their cars after every successful bargain.’
Since I had nothing to do with boskona again until I was at the post office in Ilorin 5 years ago, it was on a Sunday, we were coming back from an Uncle’s house and there were piles upon piles of used clothes scattered everywhere, I held my cousin’s hand tightly as I kept staring and didn’t pay attention to where I was going. The clothes were nice but would I go and get them for myself? No. God forbid me buying used clothes, as if my mother could not afford a new one if I wanted it. I can’t imagine a friend seeing me there so I board a cab with my cousin and that was the end.
I started to think of the Sunday Sunday market and wished I had money to buy some of the pieces for myself, when the money came. I wish I had something to hide my face so no one would see me buying stuff there, I can’t imagine people thinking I wear used clothes.
That was how I let what I couldn’t buy but wish to buy haunt me. But I know I am not alone, how many of us suffer from the same stupid pride I suffered from?
It may shock you but major fashion bloggers thrift! Some fashion bloggers I follow talk about thrift items and when they are wearing them. A quick search on Google and I realized they all meant boskona. I was Hella Shook!
New items get paired with thrift items that are way cheaper but you can never know if you don’t get told. My interview with Dimplekhadi was an eye opener, she always look elegant in her outfits and she mentioned how she got some of her clothes from thrift stores. I discovered there are stores that sell not only used clothes but used items outside the country too but they call it the ‘fancy’ name… Thrift
The word thrift became a saviour, you need not lie to your friends about where you get your clothes from when you can proudly say ‘I got it from a thrift store.’
Few girls I have complimented for their great fashion sense would tell me in conspiratory tone that it is boskona and I would nod in pleasure that I was let into a secret. I mean who would admit they spent less than a thousand naira on all they are wearing when it makes them look like a model out of vogue magazine?
I think thrift items became more popular with the vintage shirt trend, majority bought it without knowing they are wearing second hand clothes, majority who might have thought low of it.
But the thing is no matter how low some of us think of these items, they are here to stay and with these recession hassle? The business is booming. It is high time we stopped hiding under the hypocrisy umbrella to laugh at those who wear these items when we skulk off to buy it at the end of the day, it would make them more confident to let you into their “secret” if you don’t shame them.
As an advocate of “do as you preach” I encourage you to buy second hand clothes if you want to. It is your money not theirs. I bet you’d look better than those who spend thousands on clothes that make them look like something out of a poorly costumed play.
I have some lovely pieces I can’t wait to wear already!!!