Pushcart vendors, pop-up kiosks and hidden stores in markets and malls in the city centre, and vintage stores are quickly gaining popularity in Kuala Lumpur. After all, why pay full price for mass produced items when you can find produce that reflects your individual taste better and costs a lot less?
We are not just talking about vintage clothes (like flapper fringe dresses and tweed suits) – we love all things ‘nearly new’, from homeware knick-knacks and tiny collectible dolls to second-hand books and pre-loved designer handbags. And a big part of the fun is riffling through racks and shelves and coming upon a real unique find – like a first edition book for less than RM10. Here are our five picks for trendy, weird and wonderful bargain hunting in KL!
ChalkSungei Wang Plaza
Chalk’s success largely stems from its dazzlingly bright, super funky collection of second-hand shoes, magazines, clothing and bags. Clothes are inexpensive and in order to bring you prices this cheap, the interior design of the store is a little understated. Okay, there is a wall installation plastered with colourful miniature pom poms and another blackboard-type art piece with doodles of rag dolls and robots, but the rest of the place looks rather like an industrial warehouse.
Colourful rails lining the walls are dedicated to holding vintage shirts, jackets, skirts and party frocks – all of which you can purchase tremendously cheap. At times you will find the odd designer piece but on the whole it is the sort of place that caters to trendy but thrifty 20-something fashionistas. Located on the second floor of Sungei Wang Plaza, the store also stocks up on a few local fashion labels, with prices ranging between RM89 – RM1,000.
- Opening Hours: Open daily, 10am-10pm
- Address: 2nd floor, Lot 13, Sungei Wang Plaza, Jalan Sultan Ismail, Kuala Lumpur
- Tel: +6012 699 9882 or +6012 262 9110
Joe's MACAmcorp Mall
An eclectic store dedicated to music memorabilia, Joe’s MAC has been around for quite a few years and we just love the place. Located on the lower ground floor of Amcorp Mall in Petaling Jaya (about 30 minutes from the KL city centre), it is more than just a music store – Joe’s MAC is like a little slice of history with old album posters, a colourful collection of guitars, cellos, turntables, CDs, cassettes and more, that are sure to grab your attention.
The store’s decor is a distinctive take on cluttered British style with bare white walls and lots of bins placed haphazardly on the floors holding vinyl records and CDs. Rifle through this establishment's collection of over 9,000 vinyl records and we are sure you won’t walk out of the store empty-handed. In the past, we purchased Nat King Cole and Olivia Newton John records for less than RM10 each – what a steal!
- Address: LG, Amcorp Mall, 18, Jalan Persiaran Barat, PJ
- Tel: +6012 3737972 or +6012 7237 972 or +603 7957 9173
Never Follow SuitBangsar
Never Follow Suit is a great little boutique along Jalan Telawi 2, Bangsar with quirky, up-and-coming fashion designs. The clothes in this concept store are divided into two sections: men- and womenswear, and the store is a great place to let your funky inner child loose. You can find some pretty trendy designs here ranging from re-embellished vintage collections and original designs, to basics like polo shirts.
When you first enter the store there is a small section with a few rails dedicated to a cheerful collection of vintage clothes. These outfits have actually been ‘altered’ (i.e. given a new lease on life with cool additions) by the store’s style-setting owners – stylists Calvin Cheong and Victor Goh, hairstylist David Shaw and designer Joe Chia. Some pieces have simple changes like shortened hemlines, while others have been ‘blinged’ out with funky patches, diamantes and well-placed distressing. With price tags ranging from RM40 – RM300, clothes here are dirt cheap. Read More...
- Opening Hours: 11:00 – 17:00
- Address: 28-2 Jalan Telawi 2, Bangsar
- Tel: +603 2284 7316
Second CharmTaman Tun Dr. Ismail
Looking for home furniture but not keen on getting something that you’ll see at your friend’s house? Then simply head to Second Charm, located in Taman Tun Dr Ismail (about 20 minutes from the city centre). The entrance to this store is unassuming and what’s inside may astound you. Selling a mix of furniture from different periods and styles (ranging from Peranakan and Scandinavian to colonial and Victorian pieces), prices are truly reasonable: the most expensive piece we saw was an RM3,500 dining set.
A word to the wise though – do not be overwhelmed by the messy layout as you will have to sift carefully through the store to find hidden gems. Retro furniture is not all that you will find here: it also stocks up on some beautiful ceramic and glassware pieces. There is a little evidence of wear and tear and most objects have been beautifully restored (we love the French armchairs!) and seem to tell their own stories.
- Opening Hours: 10:00 – 22:00
- Address: 53-53A, Lorong Rahim Kajai 13, Taman Tun Dr. Ismail, Kuala Lumpur
- Tel: +603 7726 4889
For a true fashion bargain, look no further than Sha Shaari. Hidden in an upper storey shop lot along Jalan Telawi Tiga, in our opinion, this store is one of KL’s best-kept secrets. Stocking a beautifully curated collection of pre-loved designer handbags that doesn't cost the earth, what we love is the store’s spacious and stylish atmosphere (a contrast to other second-hand stores in KL), and its service that is unobtrusive but efficient. The idea behind Sha Shaari is to provide good value vintage and they have a fine finger on the pulse of current trends, so the handbags and clutches available are usually pretty hip. Prices start from RM300 and the current stock includes brands like Balenciaga, Gucci, Miu Miu, Chanel, Marc by Marc Jacobs and more.
- Address: No. 14-2 (12A-2), Top Floor, Jalan Telawi Tiga, 59100 Bangsar Baru, Kuala Lumpur
- Tel: +603 2201 5848