One day in Port-au-Prince and we were already anxious to hit the streets and infiltrate the Pepe markets. We jumped on the back of Danny’s moto and headed down to the market with Perez trailing right behind. As we zoomed through the streets it was impossible not to grin in giddiness-we are never on motorcycles back home and the experience is exhilerating, and at times a little nerve wracking as we squeeze through any available crack in traffic.
We reached the markets in tact and set off to pick out fresh ‘new’ Pepe garments for our new designs! Perez has become a bit of a regular to some of the merchants as he frequents the same vendors each time he buys for us. We watched in awe as he pulled fantastic find after fantastic find and negotiated his way with the men and women running the stalls.
The day would not have been complete with out laughter as we attempted to explain what we are looking for in these abundant and vibrant markets. We found ourselves bursting with pride when Danny told us we looked like naturals at home in our element as we inspected the garments. The day was successful as we found beautiful fabrics to create our new designs and we raced off to INDEPCO to drop off the new materials.
It was when we dropped off our latest shipment of Pepe that we learned that the name Pepe which of course refers to the second hand clothing has a much more intriguing tale to it. When the second hand clothing first made its entry into the Haitian ports (unregulated-contributing to the decline in the local tailoring sector), it was considered almost shameful to wear the second hand clothing as it never fit quite right. As the garments grew in popularity due to their reduced price they were coined ‘Pepe’ refering to the way the ill-fitting clothing sat on the locals. It looked as though people were wearing their grandfathers old clothes.
We take pride in taking these pepe garments and refurbishing them so that Grandpa’s old clothing can fit just perfectly. We can’t wait to showcase our new designs upon our return!