Spending RM500 on a nice dress or shirt is all well and good if you can afford it, but in these times of GFC (Global Financial Crisis), it pays (no pun intended) to be thrifty once in a while. Who knows, you might find a gem or two for next to nothing.
Text + Images DJ Bunga
Before digging through other folks castaways became a favourite past-time among hipsters, it was something practised by less fortunate or financially depressed families who could not afford new clothes or home furnishings for themselves. Charity shops, the Salvation Army, garage sales and flea markets were among the many places where cash-strapped folks shopped.
These days, thrift stores or flea markets have become favoured haunts for the fashion savvy for their unique and often one-of-a-kind finds. Here, these thrift stores and stalls are popularly known as “bundle”, named so because stacks of used clothing are bundled up into sacks that vary in size, price and grade by suppliers before being sold to store/stall owners across the country. These owners would have to decide which bundle to purchase without actually knowing the contents of each bundle-sort of like main tikam. Occasionally, something good would be found among the bundles but most items would still be sold for cheap.
Together with Michelle Pong from fashion nutheads Project Muffstit, inline skate/retail owner Wei Yeng from Wheel Love and Jee Hoe, the disco-loving half of DJ duo Melee Punks, we set out on a blistering hot Sunday morning in search of second-hand treasure, each with a RM100 budget and plenty of enthusiasm.
Our intrepid gang met up in Bangsar before heading off to our 1st destination, Rawang. Don’t laugh; this so-called sleepy town is home to a number of hidden spots and we endeavoured to hit every single one of them.
Rawang main street
First stop: the aptly named Bundle House.
Interior of Bundle House
Wei Yeng and Michelle got off to a quick start and copped some bargains while the rest of us adopted a more cautious see-and-buy-later approach.
Is it a shirt, a cape or a maternity dress??
Our next spot, not too far away from Bundle House, was a shabby shop lot next to a food court. They had toys so we proceeded to go on a purchasing frenzy (albeit only a RM5 one)!
Wei Yeng, Michelle and I with our newfound RM1 friends.
Tees, jeans, jackets, whatnotsï¿½
Is it a hoodie, a jacket…? Michelle keeps us guessing.
By this time the midday heat was already sapping at our strength but the hunt must go on and off we went to another shop, this time located deep in the kampung areas on the outskirts of Rawang.
Jee Hoe and I hadn’t really spent any of our money yet, but Wei Yeng and Michelle seemed determined to blow their budget as quickly as possible. Wei Yeng, for one, was starting to display an obsession with track jackets while Michelle was picking up items for seemingly next to nothing.
Jee Hoe and I finally bought something!
Shoes, shoes, shoes
Boots, boots, boots
Padan muka in Cantonese
RM5 shirt FTW!
RM5 Cuban shirt; cigar not included
After spending a good part of the afternoon in Rawang, we moved on to Gombak where pickings were slimmer and prices were much higher, but at least there was air-conditioning!
Rape, Pillage & Plunder-niceeeee
And our final stop for the day: the granddaddy of them all, the Chow Kit flea market! By this time only Michelle and Wei Yeng were still going out in full force, moving between each stall in double quick time and snatching up some last minute shopping.
Swimming in clothes, practically
Wei Yeng and his new pick-ups (and friend)
After almost 10 hours of continuous digging, we called it a day and phew, what a day it was!
THE FINAL DAMAGE REPORT
1. Oversized block colour shirt RM10
2. Denim slip with drawstring hoodie RM10
3. Blue tie-dye tee RM5
4. Orange tie-dye tee RM5
5. Black canvas shoes RM10
6. Denim overalls RM5
7. Floral lazy dress RM5
8. Brown summer dress RM10
9. High-waisted cotton pants RM10
10. Light denim summer dress RM10
11. Drawstring sheer pants RM10
12. Studded-denim oversized vest RM10
TOTAL = RM100
1. Plain tee RM5
2. Polo tee RM5
3. Oxford shirt RM10
4. Plaid shirt RM10
5. Levi’s denim jacket RM40
TOTAL = RM70
1. adidas windbreaker RM13
2. American boy scout uniform RM15
3. Asics Nittai jacket RM15
4. Piggie toys (2 no.s) RM6
5. Black Asics RM5
6. Green Rawlings RM5
7. Taiseh basketball jersey RM5
8. Champion NY Knicks Ewing 33 jersey RM15
9. Red Asics Victory stripe RM20
TOTAL = RM99
1. Converse Chuck Taylor sneakers RM50
2. White Cuban shirt RM5
3. Red chambray shirt RM10
4. Dickies chinos RM15
5. Vintage duck pants RM20
TOTAL = RM100
Evidently Michelle is the pro bundle digger here, stretching her RM100 for 12 items.
If you buy 2 or more items, chances are you can still shave a few ringgit off your purchase. But don’t make ridiculous offers such as RM10 for something marked at RM100; you might just piss off the seller!
Always ask for directions
Even if you don’t buy anything, don’t be afraid to talk to shopkeepers and ask them where other bundle shops can be found. That’s how you’ll find out about that secret spot that has treasures by the truckloads!
Keep on digging
Just like anything else that involves chance, there’ll be days when it’s dry and you won’t find anything. Don’t give up on the hunt, the thrill of finding something good dirt cheap will more than make up for it!
OTHER BUNDLE HOTSPOTS
A few good, if pricy, bundle stores here on the 1st floor specialising in vintage wear and knickknacks.
Buntil Bundle is considered one of the pioneer stores in KL. Selections are pricy but the condition of most goods is almost pristine and sometimes hard to find.
85 Jalan Bandar Rawang 2, Rawang.
T: 03 6092 0142
26, GF Jalan 6/21D, Medan Idaman, Gombak.
T: 012 252 6511 (Nazir)