In today’s fast-paced fashion industry, giant clothing companies pump out line after line of flashy pieces to grab our attention. While this non-stop turnover means we always have an endless supply of fashionable looks, it also means the environment and underpaid workers are suffering somewhere to provide it.
What’s more, despite all the money and effort we spend on brand-names products, we might still end up looking the same as the thousands of other teenagers who bought the identical shirt from H&M.
There is a solution: many budding fashionistas don’t know about Hong Kong’s treasure trove of thrift shops and second-hand stores. To help you get the snazziest, eco-friendliest, and most affordable outfits, here are the city’s three best thrift shops.
1 Mee & Gee
- 181 Fa Yuen Street, Mong Kok,
- 55 & 64 Tung Choi Street, Mong Kong
- 9 Li Yuen Street West, Central,
- 71 Granville Road, Tsim Sha Tsui,
- 3 Tai Yuen Street, Wan Chai
Also known as Mee & George, Mee & Gee is the city’s holy grail of thrift stores. With six locations dotted about the back streets of Hong Kong’s busiest shopping districts, each store has racks of all types of hidden gems (particularly in the Central and Mong Kok outlets), ranging from HK$5-HK$20, to sections where vintage designer items such as Gucci sweatshirts and Levi’s jeans go for 70-90 per cent off. Whether you want to look like an edgy character straight out of a Wong Kar-wai movie, or a Korean/Japanese hipster, Mee & Gee is the place to go.
2 Salvation Army Family Store
Where: 16 stores across Hong Kong
An oldie but a goodie, Salvation Army Family Stores are the most numerous and well-known thrift shops in Hong Kong, and for good reason. Not only do they carry cheap but stylish clothing, there’s also a miscellany of knick-knacks and products of almost any nature imaginable. Sure, the sartorial choices on offer here may not be as “fashionable” as Mee and Gee, but it’s the go-to place for classic pieces at cheaper prices.
3 Green Ladies
- Shop 8-9, CC Wu Shopping Arcade,
- 302-308 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai
- 168 Queen’s Road West, Sai Ying Pun
- Lions Rise Mall, 8 Muk Lun St, Wong Tai Sin
- 143 Lai Chi Kok Road, Tai Kok Tsui
Green Ladies is a “higher-end” thrift shop run by a fantastic group of women whose goal is to achieve environmental and social change through the reuse and resale of high-fashion goods. Its style is comparable to Topshop – pieces tend to be classier and prettier than other second-hand shops – so this is a good spot for “smart casual” attire. While the prices of goods here might be higher than the previous two shops, the shop is completely charity-based. All the profits from anything you buy go towards to training underemployed, middle-aged workers. Look sharp and help others? What’s not to love?
Bonus – Select-18
Where: Shop A, 18, Bridges Street, Central
While this isn’t a second-hand clothes shop, Select-18 is an amazing vintage store that sells all sorts of trinkets and cool paraphernalia. There’s handmade jewellery from local brands, glasses, hats, handbags, license plates, original cellphones, cameras, clocks, lamps, transistor radios, furniture, and even movie posters from colonial Hong Kong. You name it, they have it. The best part is, most things are either second-hand or locally produced, which is reflected in the price. If you love random “useless” but beautiful things with rich history or interesting backgrounds, you absolutely have to visit this shop.