Glossary – Obroni Wawu

Obroni Wawu is a phrase used in Ghana that literally translates as “dead white man’s clothes”. 

Many of the clothes donated to charities are sold to Africa, and Ghana is one of the largest purchases of used clothing. However, there is a problem — the influx of used Western fashions are killing the traditional African textile and clothing industries, and the recent influx of fast fashion is also lowering the quality of the second hand clothes. As a result many African nations are now banning the importation of ‘dead white man’s clothes.’

About Jonathan

Jonathan Walford is a fashion historian and co-founder of the Fashion History Museum in Cambridge, Ontario. The FHM maintains a collection of nearly 12,000 artifacts dating from the mid 17th century to the present. Jonathan has authored various books and museum catalogues, including The Seductive Shoe, Shoes A-Z, Forties Fashion, 1950s American Fashion, and Sixties Fashion.
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