Sunday, August 22, 2010

Indie Guide to Malaysia: Shopping in Kuala Lumpur

Indie Guide to Shopping in Kuala Lumpur
Fo'real. Best shopping you'll find is in Asia, no need to be a dirty backpacker. 

By pure chance that our hostel was in some obscure place outside of the centre, my amour and I found the best vintage shopping I’ve possibly seen in my life, even better than Toronto and Bangkok. What made it so great was that a) a lot of the clothes were in from Japan so they were super awesome b) they didn’t know how cool their clothing was so it was cheaper than a chocolate bar for a winter coat! c) the prices make all the clothing that much more worth it even if they're not perfect. Your trendy, bargain hunting heart will beat faster just by the thought of it. I must admit though that this place is ultimate indie shopping paradise for guys. Below I’ve listed the other places that have made me happy pants for consumption. I need to stress again how low my budget was on this trip, 6 month unpaid internship in Jakarta and all, so if you are looking for bargains, this blog will help you find them where you wouldn’t expect and even give you a couple tips on how to bargain the best deal.

1. Chow Kit Vintage Stuff
2. China Town Copy Shopping
3. FYI on Copy Shopping
4. How to Bargain in China Town
5. Other Consumptions: Eyebrow Threading
6. Music

Chow Kit MRT Station: Vintage
Screw saving the best for last. Here is the hidden gem of vintage shopping paradise in Kuala Lumpur. Just head to the metro station Chow Kit (sort of in the north, direct line from Bukit Buntang) and as you descend down the steps you’ll see rows of blue roofed stalls along the street. There it is, heaven. Enough talking, I’ll show you.

 Polar Bear Men's T: 10 RM (3.3 USD)
Gladiator Sandals: 44 RM (14.7 USD) Top Shop Kuala Lumpur
Jeans Jacket: Pacific Mall, Toronto Indie Guide to Shopping Toronto
Pimpin' Godfather like ring: Paris (coming up in my Indie Guide to Paris shopping!)
Pocket Watch: Sears, Toronto

I was sick of Top Shop trying to sell me mega cool biker t-shirts that looked like men's vintage shirts cut up but for too many dolla billz. So I figured why the heck wouldn't a clever soul make it themself for 1 billionth the price? In Chow Kit station, I found theeeee ultimate bad ass polar bear shirt (I actually preferred a wicked eagle shirt, but couldn't find it) and cut off the sleeves, made it a bit shorter and it ended up the best thing to wear for the beach, over my bikini (while flashing a bit of beach bum), but also great for backpacking and looking like you'll cut up any brotha who tries to mess with you'. Perfect for traveling.

High Wasted Jeans: 5 RM (less than 2 USD)!
Crop Top: Top Shop Barcelona

It's not perfect, but with the right shoes, a crop top and a cool belt I think we can work it out. The best part of vintage shopping is the adventure of a fixer upper.

Men's Winter Jackets: 10 RM (3.3 USD)

The one on the left makes me want to make babies instantly. I wish I was a) a guy to enjoy all the coats there, b) moving to a cold country to justify buying that yellow one that fits me.

Settle for this blazer instead.
Blazer: 3 RM (1 USD)

wtf? Random 98' Team Canada Jearsey on the other side of the world, whudddup! Makes sense since 98 Olympics were in Nagano and the clothes are from there...

Chinatown Copy Shopping
I was not very impressed by this place. The prices were good but nothing compared to Shen Zhen in China. The copy items were not as varied. Nonetheless, boyfriend and I found some great shizzle. Namely these little cutie shoes!

After seeing these shoes from Top Shop in my friend's fashion blog, I was inspired to get a pair of brown flats but didn't really have the budget for Top Shop the sizes are always too large to fit ol' Fel.  Seeing these in China Town was something of a godsend. Something so rad about wearing guys shoes made itty bitty!

Shoes: 40 Rm (13 USD) after hard bargaining. Tried to sell it originally for 60 RM..bu'n that.
Shorts: Vintage in Toronto

FYI for Copy Shopping:
They are not all the same. There are 3 degrees of quality when it comes to copy designer stuff. If you don’t want to look like a cheap fool with a faux Chanel purse then be sure to ask for the top copy. The stuff in the window is usually the lowest quality and the cheapest. It looks bad, fake and ridiculous. If you have more money to spend, you can get a B-Level copy which is higher quality but not the best. Then there is A-Level copy which they usually have to walkie talkie a friend or have in trunk somewhere. This stuff is usually indistinguable from the real one, just it’s a rip off and thus 1/10 of the price.
 (The cheap version)

I was looking for a Chanel purse for my mom, A-Level copy. I bought one for her in Hong Kong and she loved it. I paid about $50 for the top level but in China town the lowest I could get it down to was 310 RM or $100 CAD. Arrrgg (pirate voice).

Tips to Bargaining
 I learned all this from boyfriend who had lived in Hong Kong and is the master of pissing off merchants but getting them down to unheard of prices. You need to have balls and no empathy or shame…meaning I’m not as good, but here's what I've learned.

Step 1: Research gathering. Put away your wallet because this step requires no buying, just some kahunas and your poker face. Go around to the stalls and start bargaining like you don’t give a shizzle. If they want 200 RM for those Timberlands, be bold and say 50 RM. It sounds ridiculous and insulting, but these things are so cheap to make that they are still making mega profit. At this point the stall man will be acting appalled and this is where you start to walk out. Remember, even if you want those Tims, every other stall has the same ones. You have to be fearless. When they see that you don’t care about the item just the price, you have the power, they will propose something much lower, say, 100 RM. At this point, don’t settle and buy them. Say 60 RM final price and then prepare to walk out again, he’ll say noooo, okay 80 RM, sir, I am losing money. You say, no 60 RM is my final price and if he doesn’t go lower or try to stop you from leaving, say 65 that’s it, then leave. If he agrees then you’ve found a good minimum, but no buying yet.

Note: If the item you want is only in one shop, then whatever happens, don’t show how interested you are! Don’t be afraid to walk away when he won’t go down to your price, but don’t burn your bridges either because you are bluffing (you’ll pay anything for those shoes!) and if he know that he won’t offer you lower, you’ll be back for his unique item and he don’t care.

Step 2: Get it even lower. you know that you can get those Tims down from 200 RM to at least 65 RM. Now do that a couple of times and see if you can get lower than 65 RM. Propose 30 RM even (10 CAD for fake Tims is not that crazy. Use your own reasoning).

Step 3: use your knowledge and purchase. Now go to some of the stalls you haven’t visited yet. You know what is too low and what is ridiculous to propose and accept. Now you’re looking to buy. If someone goes lower than your lowest offer of 65 RM, haggle a bit more. If you haven’t exhausted all your options, don’t be scared to be a bad ass and walk away (this is the key!! I have too much shame to do it though..) if they won’t give you your price. The only risk is that if Stall X ends up being your cheapest, you’ll have to come back with your tail between your legs and say you’ll take that fake watch. My advice is to leave gracefully but firmly! Now that you have found someone to give you the Tims for 60 RM from the original asking price of 200, you are one happy camper! This is what happened to boyfriend and now he a gangsta with some Tims. Rockin’ it with skinny jeans is actually kind of hot though.

Other Consumptions: Eyebrow Threading
Sattva Mantra: The best and cheapest way to remove your backpacker (ie. awkwardly tweezed) eyebrows with some growth is by threading and can be found in most Indian beauty salons (we’re hairy people, so we get that shit right). Threading is cheaper than waxing and more precise. I really don’t understand why it’s not the main method of facial hair removal, but seeing how all things Indian are getting huge, I’m sure it will be. You can have beautiful arches with threading. Anyway it’s 7 RM and takes 15 minutes. The lady was really good here, better than I had in Canada or Singapore. If you want waxing of legs it's 80 RM or >30 USD.  Located next to the train station KL Sentral. I went to get my eyebrows done before hopping on the train to the Full Moon Party in Koh Phanang. No 84, 1st Floor, Jalan Tun Sambanthan. Metro KL Sentral.

Shopping in Asia is the Best. Check out also:
Indie Shopping in Bangkok


Crystal Fighters. Electro awesomness from Spain
Haven't posted music in a while. Loving this song posted on the Facebook page (thanks Alba) and looking for the Mp3!


  1. cute finds for both you and paul! and about a month ago i got my eyebrows threaded for the first time and it was one of the best discoveries everrrrr! film star eyebrows for all.

  2. i heard partying in kl was a so so and alcohol is expensive...True?


  3. hiii, i love your blog! n btw, its Chow Kit, not Chow Chit..

  4. Laaav the shoes! But do you sweat a lot in em if you don't wear socks? Or is that just me...

  5. @nathan: paul and i didn't get to party really in KL so i can't tell you first hand. I did hear that it is indeed expensive though because of high alcohol taxes.

    chow kit** noted and changed. thanks!

    @audrey. I wore them around only once since I got them and the sweat wasn't too bad. I wanted socks mainly because they hurt the feet a bit. In any case i plan to wear them with socks because it's just cuter!

  6. Superb collection of clothing it is.especially the mens jackets that you have shown in that article looks too awesome.

  7. must check out this place for great finds *

  8. Wow, absolutely fantastic blog. I am very glad to have such useful information. Thanks.
    Herbal Potpourri