How to buy cheap, good quality clothes?
Second-hand shops are a great way to get high-quality products of famous brands at affordable prices. Some people are shy to admit they shop in second-hand shops, even embarrassed to tell that they do, but some love it and try to do it as often as they can, every month or even every week, hunting for that special one and only pair of pants or a lovely like no other jacket they’ve been dreaming about for so long.
History of Second Hand Store movement in Riga
It was the beginning of 90’s when first second-hand shops opened their doors. People in Latvia, pretty much as everywhere else in the post-Soviet countries just recently struck by the change of political regime and an overall decrease of a level of life were trying to learn how to live, how to change the set of mind and move on from planning economy to the free market one. We were looking at the West, wishing to get closer to that better life, which we saw on TV and in the magazines.
We would normally have to wear clothes after it became too small for our older brothers and jeans, for instance, was still something very exclusive. We went shopping for clothes to a marketplace with all sorts of cheap replicas from China. Everybody wanted a pair of Adidas or Nike shoes, but all we could find in our markets were fake copies like Adibas, Adiddos or Nice – you name it. And the only place we could see how does the original brand with the three stripes would look was a TV screen or a second-hand shop.
Quite often items bought from a second-hand shop could have some minor faults (e.g. spots or small holes) and it slowly but surely made many people change their negative opinion about these shops, “Only those who consider themselves a bottom class would buy and wear faulty clothes that someone has already thrown away” – they would say. Others would always choose to dress up in a second-hand shop, where a quality of the items was much higher.
First second-hand shops in Riga were small rooms, more often than not located in the basements, with a very certain and particular smell. If you ever been to your local shop of pre-owned items, you know that smell and would never confuse it with anything else. It comes from a chemical washing of the clothing items, to ensure it won’t have any pests and parasites which can harm humans, after all, who knows where all these clothes come from.
Where do all clothing items come from into Riga Second-Hand stores?
They say it can come from humanitarian aid or a voluntary donation, you might even have clothing and shoe bank in your neighborhood too. After collected, it is sent to the countries where a supply of these used items meets demand, broken into three categories: luxury brands, general and bottom tier brands. All clothes sold at a price per kg. or a ton if we talking bulk.
It then reaches the shops, and not necessarily shop’s shelves. It is very common to pile up all stock in so called “cages”, where you literally have to dig into to find some good item, and needless to say the best ones are always at the bottom. There is a reason for it too, you know. Normally, second-hand shops’ pricing policy is based on the stock delivery date, so that the highest price per kilo would be on the day of delivery when fresh items arrive.
After that the price will gradually go down and “All stock must go” sale will be triggered in the end of the month, to empty the cages for the next month’s delivery. What some shoppers came up with was a rather simple idea of finding a perfect item and then trying to hide it within the pile of other stuff, the deeper – the better of course, so they could come back later, closer to the sale time and get themselves a bargain.
Is it really so simple to find something decent in a second-hand shop? The answer is yes if you are lucky. Certain people would never miss a single new stock delivery time, so they could buy the best items on the first day and then resell it a few days later on eBay. That is a stable source of income for those knowing what and when to look for.
What brands could be found in Riga Second-Hand stores?
We all heard of Umbro, Champion, Fila, M&S, George, Next – that is just a few of bottom and general tier brands. How about Ralph Lauren, Pierre Cardin, Levi’s, Burberry, Louis Vuitton, Calvin Klein, Armani – all that at a price of 3-4 times lower than sold by original high street vendors. For some people visiting second-hand shops has transformed from a monthly routine into a hobby, compared to fishing or hunting, when you don’t know what exactly you are going to get, but the process is exciting and the reward is worth it.
Whether you love or hate shopping for used clothes, here is a list of local second-hand shops in Riga. After all, it is entirely up to you what to go for – order fakes from AliExpress or give it a search for used big names in second-hand shops.
Riga Second Hand Stores and Charity Shops
Riga has a wide variety of second-hand and charity shops and most of them could be found around A.Čāka street or in the creative district of Miera street.
The first one that’s worth paying a visit is called “Otra Elpa” (or “Second Wind” in English) shop.
Inside you will find loads of second-hand clothes, electronics, toys, board games, LPs, DVDs, books (in English too) and lots of other stuff that all kind of people of Riga (especially artists, craftsmen and everybody who feels responsible for others) have donated. There is even a bookshelf with books just for free or a little donation.The proceeds they make go to local charities.
Mon – Fri: 10:00 – 19:00
Sat: 10:00 – 17:00
Marijas 13 street, 2nd floor (Bērga Bāzārs)
City Centre, Riga
Phone number: (+371) 67 28 7172
The second one is actually the biggest second-hand shop network and is called “Humana”. These guys are selling second-hand goods coming from Scandinavia and as they claim all income and goods left from previous collections they send to charity. They also start running big discount promotions every two weeks before new collection arrives.
Mon – Fri: 10:00 – 20:00
Sat – Sun: 10:00 – 16:00
Phone number: +371 27 73 51 11
- A. Čaka iela 70
- Kr. Valdemāra 39
- Valdeķu 10
- Brīvības gatve 239
- Bruknas 10
- Prūšu 25
- Maskavas 1
- Saharova 21
- Lidoņu iela 27
- Deglava iela 45
- Brīvības gatvē 409
- Marijas iela 14
- Maskavas iela 250
- Brīvības iela 68
- Melnsila iela 22
- Stūrmaņu iela 25
- M. Nometņu iela 31
- Anniņmuižas bulv. 40a
- Tērbatas 38
- Gaiļezera 8