Maryam Jamshidi

Despite Social Stigma, Second-Hand Stores Thrive in Gaza

May 16, 2014

Many people living in Gaza cannot afford name-brand clothing, let alone new clothing. Regardless of the circumstance, this need for inexpensive garments drives the sale of second-hand clothing and sustains business for those selling. 

Both passers-by and regulars frequent these street vendors to purchase used clothing for themselves and their families. Some even find name-brand clothing without even realizing the value of the purchase, writes Al-Monitor.

Still, many people are wary of visiting second-hand clothing stores in Gaza for fear of the social stigma attached to buying used garments. In Al-Monitor‘s interview with a young woman to be married soon, she said:

“We have a flea market in Khan Younis where I live, but I cannot go there or buy from it for fear that my fiancé or one of his relatives will see me there. It would be an unbearable badge of shame for me to be seen spending the dowry that he paid on secondhand clothes.”

Likewise, many mothers do not buy second-hand clothing because they do not want their children embarrassed, even if they cannot afford new clothes.

But one woman who shops there explains, “I am the mother of four boys and five girls, two of whom graduated from college but remain unemployed. As a result, I am compelled to buy them used clothes for lack of money.”

Although the stigma remains pervasive, many take advantage of the affordable price at which they can purchase clothes while sustaining the second-hand clothing market.

To read more accounts from Al-Monitor on the benefits and disadvantages of shopping at second-hand stores in Gaza, click here.

Written by Sonja Trierweiler, social media specialist and blogger on the Middle East.