By Ghanim al-Sulaiti
Our world today is continuously creating, developing and producing something ‘new’ of everything — be it furniture, clothes, bags or technology. While new items benefit us in their modern, up-to-date standards, there is a real beauty of something vintage.
Vintage items are often described as ‘timeless’ and carry experience, stories and history with them as they make their way from person to person, or house to house. They’re often higher in value than something created today, purely due to the story behind the product, the materials used, or simply the limited-edition nature of being able to own something that no longer exists today.
‘Thrift shopping’ — which is shopping for second-hand goods has taken off worldwide, particularly in the United States. Thrift shopping can be as basic or as luxurious as you can imagine, and many of the world’s rare treasures are frequently only discovered in the heart of a thrift store full of second hand clothes, including designer brands, and more.
In Europe, many furnish a house with vintage products for the fact that the items are often one of a kind. The second hand market is a huge industry, and provides tremendous opportunity for giving a new lease of life to something.
I’ve always been a fan of second-hand shopping, and embrace the nature in which we are able to shop more sustainably by purchasing something that’s often a classic, has a history — and a new purpose. In our modern world today, we presume that the life expectancy of much of what we buy is just a few years, maximum — but if we adopted a different mindset we’d be able to reduce waste while discovering that a lot of what we want already exists.
For sustainability it’s a no-brainer, but in terms of the attractiveness of the concept of buying second-hand, we have been too slow at taking up this kind of shopping here in the Middle East. For a lot of the rest of the world, there’s a degree of prestige in purchasing a vintage designer bag, for example, that is no longer available anywhere else and can only be discovered by luck and chance during thrift shopping.
Qatar is one of the richest countries in the world, and it’s true to say that the majority of our society here loves to shop (just look at how we have a huge mall on every corner). With this in mind, the potential for a second-hand market, thrift-shopping style experience here would be huge. Keeping it very simple, just imagine how the shoes, bags, sweaters and clothes you haven’t touched for ten years could enrich somebody else’s wardrobe, in an ethical and sustainable way, with potential for money to be given to charity too, as is so common with thrift shopping.
Do you have any second-hand, vintage store stories? Let me know on Instagram.
* The author is an expert in vegan wellbeing and health. Instagram handle: @Ghanim92
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