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by Alexandre Oktan, produced by Médiatique Inc.
color, 52 min, 2005
You give an old shirt or dress to a charity. Then, you forget all about it. But - without knowing it - you have had a huge impact on people you don't know, people throughout the world; and that impact is not all good. By following the strange, colorful, unpredictable voyage of one second hand shirt, Abloni plunges us into the huge worldwide business of second hand clothes.
In a variety of styles, exploring a vast range of locations, and entering into the lives of a colorful cast of characters, Abloni reveals how the second hand clothes business creates a livelihood for a whole chain of wholesalers and retailers; how it supports charities and recycles waste products in rich countries; how it destroys the textile industries and traditions in poor countries; how it revolutionizes style and fashion in places as far away as a small village in central Togo; how wearing the simplest bit of clothing - like a second hand shirt from Canada - becomes, in an African village, a political, economic, and cultural statement; and how it has led, too, to the birth of a new hybrid African style, creatively mixing western fashions and local textiles and patterns.
As the camera weaves in and out, we follow the shirt as it is picked up, transported to a sorting centre, sorted, bundled, shipped overseas to Lomé, the principal port of Togo, and sold, then sold again, then finally sold to someone who will wear it.
In its suspense-filled, picturesque, colorful, intensely human way, Abloni reveals to us an unknown cross section of the economic structure of our contemporary world.
Film Festivals, Screenings, Awards
Broadcast, TeleQuebec, Canada, 2005
Broadcast, TFO, Canada, 2005
Enviro Prize, The Environment Film Festival, Portneuf, Quebec, Canada, 2005
Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival, Ithaca, NY, 2009