Nairobi News

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Tailors who change rags to designer wear

On an ordinary day, Gikomba market is abuzz with activities.

Business starts at midnight when traders open shop and with consignments already delivered. In the wee hours of the morning, merchants flock in to buy bales.

Here, you will find new and used clothes, furniture and all manner of building materials at the market, one of Nairobi’s oldest.

But there are common people who reap a lot from the Gikomba clothes. The clothes come in different shapes and sizes, others with defects. But they all sell.

“Traders bring clothes for repairs everyday. Some want the size or length reduced,” said Isca Akoth.

Today, she is to add a lining or reduce the waist band of skirts.

“Some clothes are oversize. Instead of turning them into rugs or throwing them away, we take them for repairs,” said Mutua, trader at the market.

The once ‘useless’ clothes are fixed to fit the common petite woman.  Oversized or defective clothes that would go for about Sh20 once fixed get new pricetags, sometimes tenfold.

“The repair makes the once unattractive attire to look exquisite. This boosts our prices and sales,” said Akoth.

The repair per cloth is between Sh10 and Sh50, depending on the nature of damage. In a day, Akoth says she can receive tasks from 15 traders each with about 10 pieces.

She gets orders from traders who shop at the market but reside as far as Western Kenya.