Lewis, Tasha: 2012-2013 Seed Grant


Tasha Lewis (Department of Fiber Science and Apparel Design)

Project Title: 
Secondhand Clothing, Development, and Transformation in Haiti
Project Abstract: 
This proposal supports research for the development of a case study that will focus on the process of transforming secondhand clothing in Haiti into new clothing styles sold in Canadian and U.S. markets. This is the business model used by the Toronto-based firm, Local Buttons, which contracts apparel manufacturing in Haiti with a non-profit micro-garment producer, called INDEPCO, which is made up of approximately 600 members in 32 cities. The overall objectives of this study are to (1) examine the practices of a business utilizing apparel end-of-life strategies (recycle and reuse) within the regional trade frameworks for Canada, the U.S., and Haiti, as part of a business-based solution for addressing the development needs of Haiti, (2) evaluate the impact of trade policy on the import, transformation, and export of secondhand clothing in Haiti, and (3) describe the role of Haiti’s existing micro-enterprise infrastructure in supporting growth in the apparel manufacturing sector. Study findings can be applied to similar developing countries where secondhand markets (raw materials) are abundant and the transformation of secondhand clothing into new garments (for export) may serve as a viable business model towards employment and economic development.