9 Ways To Convince Family To Buy From Thrift Stores

With the unwanted stigma attached to second-hand items, it can be difficult getting people to consider charity shops or thrifting , but th...

Convincing Muslim Family to Buy From Thrift Stores
With the unwanted stigma attached to second-hand items, it can be difficult getting people to consider charity shops or thrifting, but the real challenge is showing your family that used clothes are good enough.

Obstacles With Second-Hand

People have bought into the consumerist world that new is better, all things are obsolete and until you haven't upgraded to the latest fashion, cosmetic or gadget, you will not be happy.

In my family, we have had a 50yr+ tradition of hand-me-down clothing. My grandparents have saved their parents' old things while the first 11 years of my life I wore over-sized clothes that were trendy in the 1970s, donated by my aunts and uncles. It wasn't a difficulty, I survived, I was still modestly covered and, even if I must say so myself, I rocked the vintage look before it was invented.

But not everyone feels secure wearing someone else's stuff. That's the first attitude we should improve. Things from the 'Dunya', the Arabic word used for this temporal life, gives a stark look into the brittle nature of material possessions.

We don't need the designer labels, the most glamorous wedding gowns, the next clever trainers or t-shirts with fancy slogans.

The Difference Between Thrift and Charity Stores

A thrift store sells only used items from shoes to furniture in good condition or by upcycling them. A charity store sells similar items but gives a percentage of their profits to a charitable cause.

I like shopping in thrift stores for finding unique gifts and treasures while charity shops will stock new things with sustainable production backgrounds.

Simplifying Your Identity

Clothes definitely show a person's status and fashion sense but when compared to the spiritual definition of identity, clothing pales in value. Prophet Muhammad, Allah's peace and blessings be upon him, said,
"Allah does not look to your bodies or your faces, but He looks to your hearts and deeds." [Muslim]
So, because the clothes covering our backs don't define us, we should be able to renew them, by either donating or wearing something used.

Show By Example To Encourage Buying Thrift
I was asked at the Inclusive Mosque Initiative where I gave a presentation on being Green Muslims about how to persuade family to buy second-hand, especially when they question your choice to only buy from ethical stores. Here are a few things I told them which I learnt from experience.
  1. Show by example. Wear your charity clothes around your family and display thrift items to demonstrate your quality of life is not being affected.
  2. Give them a link to a charity shop website which explains how their sales help poorer nations. Check out
  3. Be patient. Flipping out because someone questions why you buy second-hand doesn't help your argument.
  4. Give your friends presents from thrift stores. If you've got good taste you'll find appropriate things. "It needs to say 'vintage', not 'Oxfam'."
  5. Show them a YouTube video of the substandard working conditions of major brands like Primark. Clothes bought from these stores contribute to unfair wages, something that Fairtrade is campaigning to end.
  6. Tell them about the simple lifestyle our Prophet Muhammad had, Allah's peace and blessings be upon him, who encouraged Muslims to own less, wear simple clothing and only show 'traces' of their material wealth. 
  7. Reveal how much money you save by compare prices of your charity-shop bought clothes with the high street equivalent.
  8. In addition to being economical, buying used clothes is eco-friendly as factories are not producing more waste to manufacture new items. 
  9. Show them that new-looking outfits can be bought with some clever matching and budgeting.
What To Buy 
Some good purchases from thrift stores include books, dishes and coffee mugs, baby clothes. Check the labels for clothing with a good-reputation and don't let tiny snags put you off; they can be repaired with a needle and thread.

Start thrifting today, check out the top Charity Shops in London and  Oxfam's Second-hand clothes shop.

Images + Muslims prepare for Eid, Washington Post; Mr Greedy; Untangling Ethical Fashion


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