Over the past few months, I’ve been noticing a trend of an increasing number of local vintage and second hand online thrift shops popping up almost everyday on my Instagram feed. Being in the re-selling space, I started digging in deeper and saw that some were similar to Secret Stash, but the majority were actually selling refurbished second hand clothes purchased from wholesalers. And in fact, there was a major second hand clothing market, Karachi Play House, right here in my own neighborhood.
Despite my reservations of going to a market in Covid times, I was intrigued and knew I had to go visit it to find out more. With my face mask and hand sanitizer ready, I dropped in one afternoon and what I discovered was absolutely amazing.
Karachi Play House (located right next to Gulf Market on Teen Talwar) is a three-level shopping plaza with more than 60 shops of imported second-hand retail goods. Similar to international re-sale trends, the market was geared towards women, with only 2 shops for men while the rest were dedicated to women’s clothes. The variety was incredible, ranging from jackets to jeans and everything in between. The shopkeepers were well versed on current trends and kept asking if I wanted to see cropped sweatshirts or jazzy bomber jackets. Most of the clothes were from well known high street brands and in mint condition with even some brand new and tagged pieces in the mix.
I’ve read a lot about how most clothes donated in western countries end up in landfills or third world countries and here was actual proof of an entire market showcasing the same with some of the clothes still having tags from charity shops on them.
The shopkeepers were quite keen to show their wares and most of the shops were well organized, with some of the bigger ones even having all their clothes properly displayed on racks, reminding me of thrift shops in the U.S.
There were a handful of shops that had second-hand bags and shoes but most weren’t in the best condition. And despite one of the shopkeeper’s insisting that his stock was all original, I had my reservations. It was an interesting interaction as he even showed me the date code for a Louis Vuitton bag and Googled it as proof, but I could tell it wasn’t real. I would personally not recommend purchasing these types of pieces from there and would stick to shopping from Secret Stash where we cross-check all items for authenticity.
A few shops were also selling hair styling tools and appliances from top brands that they’d repaired and were in perfect working condition and available at literally a fraction of the price. They also had a wide range of makeup displayed that I would definitely stay away from as there’s a very slim chance they’re authentic. Apart from personally being very against the counterfeit market, its also extremely dangerous to use this kind of stuff on your skin.
Overall it was a fascinating experience, and if you’re a budget shopper looking for good deals on clothes and are up for a treasure hunt, then Karachi Play House is a must-visit; with a little time and patience you’ll be sure to hit the jackpot!