This name is actually derived from a small port town Okrika. It’s a general name for second-hand clothes in Nigeria. It’s close to Port-Town. According to the old stories, Okrika was the port where all second-hand clothes came through to Nigeria.
Eventually, Okrika name stuck to all second-hand clothes in the country. Therefore, Okrika clothes business in Nigeria started from a small port which even till today still has the same name. Still, there are other names for inwhich second-hand clothes are called in the country. Example of these names is actually “bo si corner.” It’s a synthesis of English and Yoruba language which means “go to a corner.” Today, you all over Nigeria, second-hand clothes are called Okrika. Only very poor people wanted to buy something from the bo si corner. So therefore, it got to have a name “corner,” which is the place where nobody could see this shameful action. Second-hand can also be met in various part of Nigeria. Buying any used cloth was supposed to be a shameful thing for Yoruba.
There is also a popular Yoruba word for second-hand clothes called “wo o wo.” This can also be translated as “try it on.” Sometimes, some of the shops do permit potential customers wo are the buyers to try the clothes, and at the same time, the second-hand traders are more persistent in these actions.The traders always encourage customers to try some clothes on before buying. At the same time, some of the traders may also ask to buy the clothes after trying as the customer have already tried on the clothes.
There is another term that can be used to describe the second-hand clothes or shops. It has the name “bend-down select.” A lot of traders have their best clothes under the huge pile. Therefore, buyers have to bend over to find out the clothes that they really like in the huge pile of other clothes. When a buyer selects and picks up the clothes he/she liked, then the trade starts. Sometimes, there is no need to bend over to get the cloth that you like. The best clothes in the huge pile can be laundered, ironed and hanged to be displayed. Merchants add additional value for such services. Nevertheless, sometimes, it’s better than picking up the clothes directly from the pile. The origin of Okrika clothes can be traced back to the 1950s and 1960s. It was the time when Nigeria only started its way towards independent living. Therefore, the only port that was able to take the used clothes from Europe down here was Okrika. For a very long time, these types of clothes were the most demanded in the country. The issue was that Nigeria could not afford to manufacture its own clothes and make them cheap in the middle of the twentieth century. Almost no one was able to buy new clothes in Nigeria. Therefore, the market for the used cloth was thriving. Most Nigerians were able to support their families by buying and selling used clothes named Okrika.