By Ivana Qartika
Seasonal outfits are great but what is even better are clothes that stand the test of time. The trend today is to source for long-lasting clothing that does not cost a bomb or burn a hole in your pocket.
Youth nowadays spend a lot to look good and fresh. They do not mind spending on skin, nail care, facial care and hair grooming. The domain of the oldies has now spread to all ages. Acquiring good clothing, however, remains a priority. But where to get quality clothing at a fraction of the cost? It is problematic if one is unsure where to begin.
Well, look no further. “Bundle”, a metaphor meaning a collection of used clothing of varying sizes, colours and quality, all stacked in one bundle, is the in thing today. These stacks of old clothing are sold not in designer shops or outlets but at some back lane stalls and shop lots. One needs to ask around or go on a hunt to locate them.
Like a ripe durian, the contents of a bundle are never predictable. If one is lucky one may find some hidden ‘treasures’ in them. Luck plays a part in determining your fate.
Bundles have become a hit among youngsters in Ipoh. When asked the reasons behind his search, Muhammad Faris, 18, said it was affordable and is hassle-free. He needs not to look through the racks for fitting wear. They are available in the bundle.
“I like the excitement. You never know what you’d find,” he said. Muhammad and his friends do their bundle hunting at the makeshift stalls in Memory Lane Ipoh or at a certain Musashi stall in Tambun. “They may not be the trendiest but for the amount spent no one is complaining,” he remarked.
Mr Musashi’s manager, Siti Fadzillah Shamsuddin, 25, said the clothes on sale are sourced mainly from Japan and America and are in fairly good condition. It is the same with other traders in the city. “We’ve six outlets in Perak,” she added.
They receive around a hundred customers each week ranging in age from 20 to 30 years old. Most of them are males. Surprisingly, a large number of customers look for winter clothing to go abroad. Their stocks are replenished almost weekly, depending on the demand. “So far business has been brisk,” said Siti.
Family Bundle, an outlet in Silibin earns between RM2000 to RM3000 a week. Their customers are mainly youngsters who shop for fun. Their clothes are priced between RM5 to RM50 per piece, depending on the brand.
Faziyatun Nurain, 30, MF Mart Bundle’s manager, said her clients are attracted to jeans, pants, shirts and jackets. The shop, opened in 2017, is a favourite with individuals and families. Their busiest period will be when fresh stocks arrive. The most sought-after items are T-shirts costing between RM5 to RM15. A pair of jaded jeans fetch between RM5 to RM60.
All three shops are clean and orderly, based on this scribe’s observation. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses. For discerning buyers, it is the affordability that matters. Customer satisfaction comes a close second.
The earliest bundle sellers in the country began their business in the 1970s. It was largely attributed to the Mandailing, a pioneering race from Sumatra. The present bundle traders are a mixed lot.
And there is also a newer breed of traders who dabble in old clothes. They are mostly members of non-governmental organizations who sell these used items for a song during festivities or at public gatherings.
Proceeds from such sales go to charities of their choice. An example of a well-known charity bundle shop is in IOI City Mall’s Bargain Basement in Putrajaya.