LAHORE - Sale of used winter clothes at city’s main Landa Bazaar has reached its peak.

Landa Bazaar is the place where people can buy used imported clothes at cheaper rates. Most of the shopkeepers here are from Peshawar, tribal areas and Quetta. It consists of different markets, including shoe market and dry fruits market.

“The Landa Bazaar starts from a pre-partition building named Molchan Trust where shopkeepers from various parts of the country set up stalls of used clothes for people,” shopkeeper Saifullah told The Nation.

Hamidullah, who hails from Bajaur Agency, is among many stall owners who have set up warm clothes shops in the market. “I started this business two months ago and before that I had worked at a hotel in my town,” he said.

“I demand reasonable rates for used clothes but people ask for more discounts,” Hamidullah said.

Things available in Landa Bazaar include sweaters, coats, jackets, wraps, mufflers, jeans, used toys, shoes, socks, travel bags and hand bags. Price of a used jacket from London and or from China is Rs 800 to Rs 2000 and in comparison the starting price of any brand jacket at Landa Bazaar is Rs 3000. In comparison to last year, there is no significant change in prices of used clothes.

There are around more than 500 small and big shops in Landa Bazaar and according to a rough estimate over five thousand people visit this bazaar every day.

Nowadays, Landa markets are being set up at Bohar Wala Chowk Landa Bazaar, Empress Road adjacent to Mayor Hospital, Railway Station, Wahdat Road, Township, Greentown, Anarkali, Saddar Bazaar, Shahdara and Ichchra Bazaar.

The culture of buying used clothes is not out of fashion as people find these markets cheaper than new readymade garments. According to the UN data, the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany were top used clothes exporters in 2015. On the other hand, the United Arab Emirates (7.3%), Pakistan (5.0%) and India (4.4%) were the top importers. Pakistan imported $239.5 million used clothes from foreign countries.

According to a study by Oxfam, second-hand clothing (SHC) represents only a very small proportion of the global clothing trade but SHC exports provide livelihood to hundreds of thousands of people in developing nations.

A visitor to Landa Bazaar Railways Station said, “I am buying used jackets for my kids. Fabric and stuff of these jackets are far better than jackets being sold at shops. I demand from the government to build this main road of Landa Bazaar so visitors can walk easily,” she said.

Another visitor Haris, a college student, said he was looking for new jackets for the winter season but prices of branded jackets were too high so he decided to visit the Landa Bazaar. “I found a branded new jacket in good quality for Rs2,000 and this made all the difference,” he said.

A visitor from Johar Town said, “It is my hobby to spend some time looking for some unique and different clothes from piles of clothes. It is very difficult to explain but it is a common practice to go to bazaar and spend two to three hours, especially when you have kids and family at home. Besides the household things, it is equally important to visit these markets to buy something unique, which definitely will not be available at other markets in the city,” Mrs Irfan said.

Shoe shops are also one of the main components of Landa Bazaar where people find affordable shoes that could last for at least two seasons.

Shoemaker Muhammad Din said shoes at Landa bazaar are far cheaper than other parts of the city. “We bring shoes from Karachi and then sort out the pairs in good condition,” he said. 

Landa Bazaar needs a proper parking space because people who visits the market park their motorbikes in the middle of the road and cause traffic jams. “This is a routine in the bazaar. People stop their vehicles in the middle of the road and start negotiating with shopkeepers,” a shopkeeper said.

Sale of used fancy sweaters has also gained momentum, according to shopkeeper Shehzad Khan who hails from federally administered tribal areas. “Colourful fancy sweaters are in demand,” Shehzad said.