One of my current favorite accessories is my African hat purchased at the African market in Harlem. What I love about shopping at open markets is not mostly what I find, but how I find them. I love my interaction with the merchants. They’re all sweet people full of life. They’re creative, funny, and they hustle! Every time, I go, I’m asked where I’m from. When I tell them I’m from Haiti. They say, “I bet your ancestors are from my country!” And that country, it’s usually Mali, Senegal, or Nigeria. I love to ask them questions and get into small conversations with them. They also always think I’m some kind of actress or something. I never go with the first price they give me because I’m Haitian and haggling is a natural talent. Walking away after they give you a price is normally the first thing to do. No matter how much you want it. Automatically the price will be lowered by at at least 20%. That’s more like it. Then go back, pick the thing up and admire it for a bit, keeping a smug face on. This is a fun game, and you may win! Try it on even, and get really excited about it, then say, “Meh, I don’t know…” And put it back down. Price is lowered by another 10%.
Particularly, this hat was originally priced at “$25”. I immediately walked away, then it was $20. I started looking at other things, then it went down to $15. I tried it on, got really excited for it, then told the vendor I only had $8. He was kind of pissed off, but he claims that because the hat fit me “so well”, I could have it for that price. I actually felt kind of bad, and I plan on returning to buy more things from him. And maybe I won’t put up such a hard fight at getting awesome things from kind people.
Photographer: Darnell Scott
Location: Battery Park
Coat: Thrifted; Jacket: Thrifted; Necklace: Bohiomania (HERE to shop); Top: ASOS; Pants: H&M; Boots: Louise et Cie by Vince Camuto (HERE to shop)