7 months ago | Updated 7 months ago

Big Bundle: Pop Some Tags & Go Thrift Shopping In Johor Bahru

By Iqmall Hayat

Johor Bahru. A place that’s been up-and-coming for as long as I’ve been alive. But before becoming the town that holds many of Malaysia’s recent firsts, our neighbouring state was a hotbed of unique cultures. One of them being — thrift shopping.

Have you ever heard of Big Bundle? It’s a chain of thrift stores sprinkled around Johor Bahru. With no exact address, chancing upon one is a challenge in itself. You’re better off asking the locals for other locations but in this article, I’ll let you know that there’s one right across the infamous City Square Mall.

Given the dingy orange sign and the drab-looking clothes hanging on the walls, I won’t blame you for not taking a second glance. especially if you’re not into the whole vintage aesthetic.

Racks upon racks of old clothes are not exactly where you’ll find your next fire fit but who knows what you’ll find in there? I plunged head first into the store, rubbing my hands in excitement.

The layout of the store is quite simple, everything on the racks outside the store are RM5 (approx. S$1.60) a piece, whilst everything else inside starts from RM10 (approx. S$3.30) all the way to RM150 (approx. S$49.52)!

I started flipping through the racks outside first and to my surprise, I found some passable pieces.

Sportswear? Check. I found some Under Armour pieces and vintage Nike from the early 2000s and 90s. Sure they may not be in the best condition but I’ve seen worse being sold on Carousell.

This was my gem of the day which I eventually scooped up. A Nike piece and if the tag is anything to go by, it comes from the early 2000s.

A quick Google search led me to find out that this is a jersey of an American college baseball team. Georgetown Hoyas to be exact. Fancy finding it all the way here in Johor.

Made from thick jersey material, it was very surprising to find it out here on the cheaper rack. The tribal detailing on the sleeves, as well as embroidery throughout the button-up, would be worth more than a plate of chicken rice back home, surely? Well, all I knew was that I came away with a sweet deal.

Not every piece is a gem, unfortunately, there a few duds here and there. Take this tee for instance. Googling “ Save The Chesticles “ popped up a fundraising event and there were many other types of similar merch from other events on the racks.

If you have a wicked sense of humour, you’d find this piece pretty ironic. Somebody must have thought it would be a good idea to put that on a shirt!

I don’t know who Ms. Hasegawa is but something about the poor screen printing of some woman cosplaying as a fairy and the Comic Sans font just does it for me.

You know it’s real Vintage when you see a black Uniqlo Tag. A throwback to times before “fast-fashion” was even a thing.

Classic Disney Characters always make for good t-shirt designs! In this case, how about Goofy and his Skiing School?

This was my second scoop of the day. Popularised by pop culture and made known to me by Drake, The Cheesecake Factory is a restaurant chain that, you guessed it, serves cheesecakes.

Aside from specialising in cheesecake, The Cheesecake Factory has recently been coined the “Weirdest Restaurant On Earth” in the Twitterverse. Bizarre with a hint of pop culture? Check.

After scouring through the racks outside, I proceeded to take a crack in-store only to be engulfed in the musky air and itch from all the old-ness.

I’ll save you the trouble and let you know that it’s more of the same stuff with some exceptions here and there. But being double the price, I didn’t really grab anything inside.

I found more vintage Nike with the swoosh positioned on the collar ribbing. It was so odd, so odd that it was good. It was on my mind throughout my journey back to Singapore, and I was kicking myself for not picking it up.

There were tons of outwear, most notably these windbreakers from Adidas and Nike. It’s a pity that they don’t make them like they used to anymore.

I saved the best pieces for last. Within the vintage world, the purveyors will usually know what is hot and what isn’t and then price them accordingly. Hanging high and proud were these absolute gems.

Exaggerated repeated designs and colour schemes that scream 90s were found on these Adidas pieces. Priced at a hefty RM100 (approx. S$33) each, I had a hard time keeping the ringgits in my wallet. This was what I was looking to find when I wanted to go thrift shopping and I was so glad I did.

After parting ways with these absolute beauties, I was pacified with the thought that I only visited one store out of a whole chain of stores. I had so much fun looking for quirky and potential gems on the racks, laughing at anything that was being shared between us. And I can’t wait to conquer the rest of em’ in due time.

Prices: RM5 – RM150 (approx. S$1.60 – S$49.50)

Big Bundle: 5, Jalan Wong Ah Fook, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia

Iqmall Hayat

IG: @datingjenniekim