INTERACTIVE: Getting branded fashion - at knock-off prices

PETALING JAYA: A new pair jeans can cost up to RM300. Yet, the same amount can get you several shopping bags worth of clothes from equally well-known brands.

That is, if you don’t mind buying used.

As inflation continues to bite, more cost conscious Malaysians are turning to pre-loved goods for their fashion fix.

The trend of people seeking out the nearest thrift store - or more commonly known as "bundle shops" - has grown steadily, especially since last year.

This is according to Google Trends, which looks at Google search terms using real-time data, over the past five years.

Product manager Shannon Christopher said his love for brands for style and quality are the reason he frequents second-hand shops. He can get quality at a cheap price.

“Coming from an average family financially, I grew up wanting branded stuff not only to look good but because these items usually last longer,” he said.

He said the quality of a new RM10 top from an online shop could not compare with a branded one being sold at thrift stores for about the same price.

“I visit these shops often because I can find really good, branded items there.

“A while ago I went to a street shop in Petaling Jaya and managed to get a really good jacket for just RM25.

“Compare that to a retail shop - it would definitely cost around RM150 to RM180.

With thrift shopping, he said, people can buy branded items 50% to 70% cheaper and buy in abundance.

“The only thing you have to do is to clean it up and it will look brand new.

“Got holes? Just patch them for RM5 to RM10 at a tailor's. At the end of the day, the cost of buying second hand clothes still beats the cost of new clothes.

He said thrift shopping also helps him find items which are usually very expensive, especially with men’s items such as a good suit or black shoes.

“These items could cost anywhere from RM150 to RM500 elsewhere.

“I was looking for a blue blazer and I managed to get a Marks and Spencer blazer for RM35! That, for me, was a very good deal.

“The plus point comes when people actually compliment you for the clothes you wear, when it is just from a thrift shop!”

He said there was a misconception that thrift shops sell old, unfashionable clothes.

“That's a really wrong perception. Take a look at Kedai Blessed in Midvalley or even 2nd Street, they even have Ray Ban shades sold there!” he said.

Shannon’s sister, senior client executive Shareen Alvina Patrick George, 25, shares his view and goes thrift shopping at least twice a month.

She mostly looks for clothes and bags, particularly at second-hand concept and boutique stores

Shareen Alvina Patrick George donning a pre-loved top to an event.Shareen Alvina Patrick George donning a pre-loved top to an event.

“I go for these items because of the price and also as a small step towards sustainability efforts.

“Most concept stores and boutique stores choose and filter their display items carefully so there are no stained clothes or badly-torn clothes.

"Most of the time, they separate their branded items so they are easy to locate,” said the 25-year-old from Kuala Lumpur.

She said she does not mind that the clothes she wears are not up to the latest trends.

“Fashion is subjective, so even if it’s hard to find super trendy stuff, it’s a great place to find classic, timeless or basic pieces that you can wear no matter the trend,” she said.

Procurement senior specialist Farrah A'inna Fathirra said she goes thrift shopping every two weeks, or before events or trips.

Farrah A'inna Fathirra, looks effortlessly chic as she mix and matches her pre-loved skirt, top and necklace.Farrah A'inna Fathirra, looks effortlessly chic as she mix and matches her pre-loved skirt, top and necklace.

“When I have upcoming trips and feel I do not have a suitable outfit, I go to second-hand shops.

“I feel it is always more difficult to find suitable outfits at the mall, especially something that fits me.

“Second-hand shops are where I find ideas to mix and match my outfits, and there are a lot of quality options,” she said, adding that she prefers tops at 2nd street and pants and shoes at JBR Bundle.

The 32-year-old from Pahang said she can get quality and branded shoes and jeans at about RM20-RM25 and tops for RM15 per piece.

“If I go to the mall, it could cost me RM800 for these three items,” she said.

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