Written by Sua Wen Xian
Style is a crucial part of our identity. How we choose to dress is an overt description of our personality that we craft ourselves. Some of us follow fashion trends that change every season, while some dress up only on special occasions. Regardless of which category you fall under, it’s hard to deny that most of us spend too much time in the closet trying to figure out our next move. So – should we get new clothes to remedy this fashion fever?
Society has long ingrained within us the belief that dressing well comes with a hefty price tag. However, being college and university students, we have to adhere to a stricter budget than most of us would like.
This is where a new trend comes in – thrifting. Thrift stores first gained popularity in the West, and was integrated into pop culture through songs (re: Macklemore) and YouTube haul videos. This trend has slowly made its way East, eliminating the taboo of reusing and repurposing clothes. Today we’re taking a look at a thrift store close to our own campus called Jalan-Jalan Japan.
The colossal two-storey thrift store is located in Sky Park, One City mall in USJ Subang. Aptly named Jalan-Jalan Japan, it sells items donated from this densely-populated country, where citizens’ limited storage space encourages the act of donation. These pre-loved items are steamed and cleaned beforehand. After all is said and done, Japan has once again set foot in our country, but through direct shipping this time.
Jalan-Jalan Japan prides itself on being able to find a new home for pre-loved items by selling them at a tiny fraction of their original price, while still being in great condition. It’s a win-win situation in which we are able to indulge our inner shopaholic without breaking our bank accounts!
We are looking at the dawn of a new shopping experience, straight from the Land of the Rising Sun.
Our journey started as soon as we stepped through the entrance. The store was filled to the brim with a wide array of products, from stationery to clothes and accessories. There were sections for household decorations, children’s soft toys, bags, shoes, belts, and clothes; you name it, and it was there.
The bulk of the items sold were clothes – specifically women’s apparel, which took up most of the lower floor. There, the racks spanned from wall to wall. It took nearly two hours to glance through all of them. The style was primarily sophisticated, sweet and girly, reflecting the fashion tastes of most Japanese women.
You won’t ever have to fear being overwhelmed in this pre-loved clothes haven though! The considerate staff at Jalan-Jalan Japan place colourful and helpful signs on every rack. From gender to types of apparel, all the clothes have been organised accordingly, with the sizes labelled on the hangers. Be warned though, since this isn’t a standard store, the actual sizing of the clothes will vary slightly. Luckily for us, there are fitting rooms available in both the men’s and women’s sections. Just follow the sign!
Now that the introduction is done, let’s get to shopping!
True to its name, Jalan-Jalan Japan offers traditional Japanese attire for reasonable prices. From those who enjoy cosplaying or photo shoots, to those who just admire Japanese culture, this section is for you.
There were 4 full racks of full-length kimonos for sale. The kimonos themselves were a little pricey in comparison to everything else, but still fairly reasonable for the fabric and workmanship. The prices ranged from RM40 for thin cotton kimonos, to around RM90 for silk kimonos.
Next to the racks, the obi (the kimono sash), kimono tapered slippers, and mini oriental bags were also sold. You will be spoilt for choice with the many colours, patterns, and styles of all the traditional Japanese apparels and accessories.
While indulging in the traditional is always a sweet treat, rest assured that Jalan-Jalan Japan has you covered on your hunt for fashionable modern outfits as well.
For the more feminine-minded girls out there, we all know that finding a cute dress for a formal function can be an expensive hassle. So imagine our surprise when we spotted this adorable little number in the dresses section. The cream-coloured party dress was made of soft satin fabric with ruching on the bodice and down the dress. Its mint condition made it almost unbelievable that the price tag read “RM 5”!
In the same section, we found a dress made of heavy terry cloth cotton. The dress was comfortably soft, and came with a soft satin lining. The white, gray and black stripes were pleasing to the eye, and it was bought for only RM10!
The belt (RM5) was one out of a hundred stylish belts available at Jalan-Jalan Japan. It adds a modern touch to an otherwise fancy outfit, and should go down in the books for instantly updating a timeless style.
For those who prefer using accessories to express their fashion sense, you’d be glad to know that headwear is not beanie-th Jalan-Jalan Japan. From beanies to caps to bucket hats, you’d be sure to find something you like.
This light grey cap, made of a fuzzy material, was on sale for only RM3. We picked it out from its brethren, each distinguished by a different colour, so be sure to grab yours too!
What impressed us most, however, was the outerwear. Since Japan is a seasonal country, there was a sizable selection of winter wear. However, there were also some pieces suited for Malaysian weather or when it gets a little chilly during classes! The first one we picked out was this black tweed jacket with a satin inner lining. The jacket was of good quality and was incredibly comfortable, and it was only RM20 for this youthful and sporty apparel!
Thrift shopping is like a treasure hunt, and sometimes the prize is a knitted cardigan from Banana Republic. This vintage cardigan was sold for only RM20 at Jalan-Jalan Japan, while similar clothes retail for a couple hundred ringgit.
We also found this white and black cardigan made of lightweight cotton among a rack of outerwear. The long sleeves extend past fingers, letting you channel your inner Ariana Grande. It comes with a superstar price of only RM3. Perfect for pictures!
Now, with Jalan-Jalan Japan, we can dress up more, for less – not just in cost, but also in environmental pollution. Did you know that almost 85% of recyclable and reusable clothing end up in landfills? Certain materials such as polyester, nylon, and rayon take at least 20-200 years to decompose, giving durability a new, negative meaning. The new ‘fast fashion’ industry is also magnifying these problems – Instagram pictures won’t tell you that it takes 2000 gallons of water to manufacture one single pair of jeans.
The birth of trendy thrift stores seems like a breath of fresh air now, doesn’t it? Going vintage and supporting local thrift stores and their sustainable ways helps reduce our carbon footprint and ultimately saves the planet. Yes, you get to look good and do good!
Go ahead and add this thrift store as another fashion destination at your disposal. Thank me later!