Jeans at a flea market Photo: VCG
With an unattractive exterior and yet surprisingly attractive items sold inside, secondhand clothing stores have been gaining popularity among Israelis, especially in recent years as the costs of living continues to rise higher and higher.
According to Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics, the inflation rate in the country hit 5.2 percent in July, the highest since October 2008, before falling back to 4.6 percent in September. Meanwhile, the COVID-19 pandemic has also forced many to cut spending.
In the light of the affordability issue, shoppers are now naturally drawn to used apparel, shoes, bags, and accessories that are usually priced at half or even less that of new design items.
In a secondhand shop in Jerusalem, for instance, prices for women’s tops vary from between 20 to 80 shekels ($5.6 to 22.5), depending on condition, while new clothes in similar styles tend to cost hundreds of shekels.
“Everything here is unique and affordable, so this is the best way for me to balance cost and fashion,” a secondhand clothing buyer who only identified herself as Anna told Xinhua outside the shop.
“Today I just spent about 200 shekels for clothes that could have cost me hundreds more,” Anna said.
In addition, buying, selling, or donating used clothing is becoming another way for Israelis to fulfill their social responsibilities.
For animal protection activist Ronen Bar, buying secondhand clothing has now become part of his campaign.
“Everything that harms the environment harms wild animals,” Bar told Xinhua. “We don’t need to keep producing clothes because we have enough of that.”
According to the UN Environment Programme, the fashion industry is responsible for 10 percent of annual global carbon emissions, more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined.
The secondhand clothing store, where people recycle and reuse clothing, is a great place to teach people that they can help the planet and save money while looking fabulous, said Chen Elbaz, a worker at a secondhand clothing store at Ramat Eliyahu Community Center in central Israel.
“A lot of young people who are really concerned about community as well as keeping and saving the Earth are coming to buy in our stores. They prefer to buy secondhand clothes instead of something new to reduce pollution,” Ora Korazim, who runs 48 secondhand clothing stores across the country, told Xinhua.
Haboydem, an Israeli non-profit organization, has chosen to promote public welfare by running second-hand clothing stores.
For instance, Haboydem provides employment training and other necessary assistance for people who face mental challenges but still have the potential to return to a competitive workplace. They work in stores, pick up skills, and prepare for job interviews.
“Sometimes people are trying to find a way to help the world but they don’t really know how to,” Chumz Scholar, a worker at Haboydem, told Xinhua, adding secondhand stores offer everyone a chance to help people in need by donating or buying clothes.