Bend-down-select is in again: Return of Okrika

Some people swore they would never be caught bending down in some market picking second-hand clothes to wear but here we are. Except, these days, our beloved ‘Bend-down-select’ has gone through a rebrand and is called ‘Thrifting’ now. A fancy name that somehow eases the mind of classist people who don’t want to admit that they’re like the rest of us. 

Lately, however, the people of the internet have somehow found a way to not only make wearing Okrika look ‘cool’ but also the process of buying it as well. A lot of digital thrift stores have become a golden mine for pre-loved but good-quality clothes, but the prices can never be as affordable as the physical bend-down-select markets. In Lagos, there are several well-known thrift markets, such as Yaba Market, Balogun Market, and Aswani. These markets attract thousands of shoppers on a daily basis.

You may have seen skits and jokes about recognizing instagram models at these markets even though they try to hide. However, there are some who have gone ahead to glamourize Okrika shopping, vlogging their shopping process, giving tips on the best days and times to get to the market and even doing hauls. Back in 2019, an actor, Uche Maduagwu who is known for his controversial takes mentioned that 90% of celebrities wear bend-down-select and should give credit to the sellers they get them from. There is also the case of a fashion influencer, Vincent Ebuka who shows how people can look good on a budget by thrifting high grade okrika items and doing hauls. Social media has successfully revolutionised thrift shopping in Nigeria, creating some aesthetic from what some people consider their normal means of buying clothes. 

As they say, ‘one man’s food is another man’s poison’ and this cannot be truer in the case of bend-down-select. The wave of Y2K and Nollywood trends have brought back a certain style of dressing that isn’t found just anywhere. You know where you can get these for cheap prices while possibly stumbling on vintage designer? Yes, the Nigerian thrift sure. Our trusty Okrika. 

This means the buying of thrifting clothes straight from the market isn’t just about saving money anymore. It’s about digging up trends that have recently been resurrected, it’s about the new wave of ‘sustainable fashion’ or ‘slow fashion’ and more importantly,  it’s also about the novelty of doing something unfamiliar and ‘aesthetically pleasing’.

One is left to wonder what the next victim of this glamorization would be. A good guess would be public transportation with this recent subsidy removal being the trigger. Watch out for our next article on that. 

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