International Bargain Basements

International Bargain Basements

By Ilona Kauremszky
Special to Fashion Magazine

New York City

Lower East Side
Beat the high cost of big fashion labels uptown and dart down to Manhattan's Lower East Side, the birthplace of the garment industry for low prices and one-of-a-kind storefronts.

Project - 175 Orchard Street, 212-505-0500
A fashion district expat, Project has high fashion at low prices. The funky logo accents the inside bargains from big designer labels, Giorgio Armani, Valentino, La Perla at 60% discounts.

Majestic Lingerie - 86 Orchard Street, 212-473-7990
Shapewear in its best form. This girlie paradise in the heart of the Lower East Side will tie your panties in a knot over the bottom barrel prices. Baby dolls, bras, slips, panties, and "girdles" arrive by the box load every week. Specializing in intimate apparels, Majestic aims to please both the waistline and the pocketbook. Six-way bras from $9US, baby dolls but they're really teddies from $11US. Cross your heart.

Altman's Luggage - 135 Orchard Street, 1-800-372-3377
This third generation family business outfits travelers in style at discount prices. Kenneth Cole, Travelpro, Samsonite are just some of the brand names at this no nonsense retailer. Watches, computer cases, tote bags and pens are other specialty items. Slick minimalist Skagen watches from $85US, pullmans from French Luggage $419US. They ship worldwide.

Harris Levy - 278 Grand Street, 212-226-3102
This Lower East Side establishment specializes in bedding, bath and house products where price, selection and service rule the roost. Owner Bob Levy insists, "We'll 'hold a customer's hand' and make sure that their home is their castle and sanctuary." Two turn-of-the-century buildings with original décor house some of the best European linens, duvets, and tablecloths and blankets this side of the pond. Typical price ranges are 10%-40% off.

Louis Chock - 74 Orchard Street, 212-473-1929
Husband and wife team, Louis and Hilda, started selling socks from wooden crates. Now the sock emporium is where you'll find the "absolute lowest price possible," which is the daily mantra. Cover your tender tootsies with names like Calvin Klein, to generic numbers like Stacy Adams. These nylon babies come in a rainbow of 14 radical colors and cost $14 US for the sheer wonders.


H&M - 840 North Michigan Avenue, 312-640-0060
Who says you can't get a deal along "Magnificent Mile?" Recently opened for Chicagoans, this Swedish label stocks hugely popular and affordable Europe-based fashion design.

p.45 - 1643 N. Damen, 773.862.4523
For the "Sabrina the Teenage Witch" in us, p.45's edgy fashion sense has caught the eye of actress Elisa Donovan and the Smashing Pumpkins. Fashion fiend Dennis Rodman, the gal-pal of cross-dressing, is a friend of the boutique owners like many Chicago hipsters. This trendy boutique is in the hub of the artist enclave known as Bucktown, a place to discover the latest trends from the city's up and coming designers. Innovative fashion designs, original jewelry, home furnishings and art can be had at affordable prices.

New Orleans

Six miles of shopping heaven is every girl's dream along historic Magazine Street.

Trashy Diva - 2048 Magazine St. New Orleans, LA 70130 (504) 299-8777
Just off Jackson Square in the French Quarter, it's va-va-voom vintage in this little crimson closet, which carries an excellent selection of exquisitely crafted unmentionables. Find corsets, feather boas, handbags and loads of dresses. There are velvet starlet blouses oh so Betty Davis, priced at $115 US, slinky full-length silk slips in plum and black at $35US, classic Inge Christopher sparkly evening bag at $30 (no sales tax for international visitors). Check out the 50% sale rack.

Hemline - 615 Chartres St New Orleans, LA (504) 529-3566
The vibe at this hip store is fashionable but friendly. There's plenty of space and comfy chairs to unwind while you're scanning the racks. Pro shoppers regularly inhabit this high-end shop but the sales staff is laid-back New Orleans casual. Anything you see in your favorite fashion mag will most likely be found here. Popular lines include La Loop, Miss 60, Bisou Bisou and for trendy footwear try on Me Too.


Haute couture reigns supreme here but so does fine fashion that doesn't rob the piggy bank. Wander off-the-beaten path and discover how French femmes look like a million bucks for half the price. We love words like "solde" for sale, "dégriffé" for marked-down and discount for "remise."

Alternatives - 18 rue du Roi de Sicile, 4th arrondissement, 01 42 78 31 50
Fashionistas who want to dress like a model but don't want to pay mega Euros, can get a great deal on garments once worn by the strutting catwalkers. For great prices, pop into Alternatives in the Fourth District and prepare to seek out the latest styles.

Réciproque - 88-123 rue de la Pompe, 16th arrondissement, 01 47 04 30 28
Paris' biggest complex of clothing resale stores takes up practically the entire block! Prices are moderate and the quality of selection scores high. Love the designer scarves and shawls too.

Guerrisol - 19 Avenue de Clichy, 17th arrondissement, 01 42 94 13 21,
Big on bargains, this no nonsense garment shop is a local secret. Bargainistas will enjoy rummaging through the piles and racks of used clothing. This is not your typical used clothing store as these duds are collected by nonprofit associations across Europe and are washed and pressed to perfection. It isn't glamorous but it's a place where you're guaranteed garments from as low as 1E.

Fondation d'Auteuil - 40 rue La Fontaine, 16th arrondissement
In the bowels of an old church, this resale shop is a temple for shopping divas. Situated in Paris' version of New York's glitzy Upper East Side, the ladies who love to lunch around these parts are also known to drop off last season's numbers. It's a favorite spot for discovering a barely worn Yves St Laurent dress for 15E.

La Vallée Village - Centre Commercial Val d'Europe, Serris 01 60 42 35 00
In the heart of one of France's most historic sections, about 40 minutes from Paris la Vallée is Value Village on steroids. This popular chain throughout Europe sells last year's collections dirt-cheap. Customers in the know return regularly to scope out European designer labels like Givenchy, Christian LaCroix and Versace. Why so cheap? Over surplus stock from the best European design houses dump their excess baggage here. And what nice baggage it is.

Annexe des Créateurs - 19 rue Godot de Mauroy, 9th arrondissement 01 42 65 46 40
Owner and founder Edwige Meister knows women. His store carries exclusive designer labels at very moderate prices. It's where the moneyed matrons insist on leaving their 'worn only once' or purchased-but-never-worn fashion finds. Most of the time, you can't tell whether these items are second hand or whether the designs are from last year. Discounts are between 30% and 70% off retail prices. Labels include Christian LaCroix, Givenchy, Chanel, you get the picture?

Nikita - 132 rue Mouffetard, 5th arrondissement, 01 45 35 11 64
French femme fatales obsessed by lingerie are in paradise at Nikita. A boudoir of exquisite undergarments at affordable prices. Favorite lines include Valege, Valisere and Triumph. You'll often find a bra set of undies or a thong for 20 Euros, and 80 Euros for the more expensive sets.


Move over Michelangelo and Leonardo, it's time to beat the crowds around the Duomo and Uffizi and head over to leather heaven for quality goods at affordable prices.

Leather School - The Leather School of Florence - Scuola del Cuoio, Srl via San Giuseppe, 39-055-244-533
Leather lusters hello! Even if you're not a big spender, priceless curios from 22kt gold leaf stamped on smooth calfskin leather bookmarks, to the oh so soft lambskin leather gloves with silk lining, $65CDN to delicate two sleeved business card cases in calfskin with snap $39CDN are some of the fashion finds inside this ancient monastery of Santa Croce. The practice of leather making dates back to when the Franciscan Friars taught the ancient technique to orphaned boys. Today, proceeds from your purchase still support the school and their many good social causes.

San Lorenzo Leather Market - outside San Lorenzo Church
Named after the church this daily outdoor market teems with vendors offering a wide selection of leather goods this side of the Arno. The busy leather hub buzzes with locals and tourists all with an eye on cuoio. Fine leather goods, belts, bags, jackets are priced from $4E to $400E. Be prepared to bargain.


Known as the Island of Love, Cyprus is the birthplace of Aphrodite who was born from the waves off this Mediterranean isle. Now beauty lovers can enjoy the benefits of the sea and feel like a reborn Aphrodite.

A.P. Anastassiou Ltd. - 3 Ayias Theklis Street, Limassol tel: 00357 25 871656
Everything under $20. Natural soaps, pure olive oil products and the shop's specialty, loofahs and sponges from the deep Sargasso Sea off the Island of Love's coastline. Find cut or loose whole loofah $4CDN, loofah core for pedicures $2.50CDN, sea sponges $5-$15 and your pick of Dead Sea lotions, creams and mineral salts. Beauty potions that would make even Aphrodite smile.


Since the "Down Under" dollar is close to our loonie, shopaholics will definitely find bargains in the land of the kangaroo, Kuala and kookaburra.

After-A-Fashion - 19 Charlotte Street, Ashfield 9798 4766
Not only will your pocketbook love you but also the socially conscious will love picking up clothing bargains from After-A-Fashion, a fund-raising venture of the Presbyterian Church. Located all over Sydney, clothing and footwear items are priced $3-$10. Find vintage, retro and leading brand names.

La Deuxieme Fois Boutique - 1, 4-10 Bay Street, Double Bay 02 9363 5775
Known as one of the longest running preloved designer clothing shops in Sydney, La Deuxieme Fois tops the designer charts by offering affordably priced couture labels. Find Gucci, Chanel, Escada, Dolce & Gabbana, and Fendi. It's not uncommon to find a Chanel suit originally priced at $2400 for $550. If you see something buy it as most items remain in the store for 60 days due to the high turnover.

Animale - 97 Euston Road (Corner Maddox St & Euston Rd) Alexandria + 61 2 9565 5266 Bright tropicana prints with a splash of Caribbean whimsy are fixtures at Animale, a French-design casual clothing line. The Animale outlet in Alexandria sells stylish garments and accessories, all reduced to 60 per cent below normal retail prices. Hop over to the $10 and $20 racks featuring an eclectic collection of separates made in the latest colours and fabrics such as rayon, linen and chiffon.

The Shoe Depot - 10 Commercial Road, Kingsgrove 02 9150 0218
Move over Imelda Marcos, this shoe outlet carries Italian and Brazilian leather shoes from just $20 a pair! Slip into $20 sports shoes or lace up a pair of Doc Martens, which are below retail. This bargain footwear emporium has rows upon rows of stock in a self-serve setting. Find men, women, children's' shoes at 20 to 70 per cent below retail prices. Popular brands include Florsheim, Tony Bianco, Lipstik, Dunlop, Sandler, Candy and Roc.

The Stretch Shop 430 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy 03 9416 1885
For the Lycra crowd, slink into the Stretch Shop, an all-round Lycra fabric specialist with loads of high-end stretch velvets, textured and plain Lycra imported from Italy, US, and New Zealand. Dive into their remnant bags, where four to five pieces in assorted lengths are priced at $10. Need bikini clips, bra wires, rubber, lining, and patterns? Find them here. So stretch the dollar and snatch some stretch fabric from as little as $4 per metre. Other fabrics are also drastically reduced.

Hong Kong

A shopper's Mecca. One can get dizzy sorting through the staggering array of choices. Rounding each new corner discover the latest fashion finds, knock-offs, retail volume unprecedented in their thriving street markets. Barter for even bigger bargains.

Ladies' Market - Tung Choi Street, Mong Kok, Kowloon
This popular day long street market is crammed with vendors selling bargain-priced clothing, cosmetics and household knick-knacks. Everything from knock-off Gucci handbags to Rolex watches, you'll find under these canopied stalls. Find girlie t-shirts from $4, evening beaded clutch purses from $10 and smart cotton hats from $2.

Temple Street Night Market - Temple Street, Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon
Hankering for some late night shopping? Over at Temple Street Night Market, Hong Kong's most famous open-air market, the action begins after dinner when vendors roll up their sleeves and partake in the ancient art of the barter. Tables brim with necklaces and sunglasses and boxes are bursting with silk scarves and tights. Fortunetellers are everywhere more than ready to predict your future. In between the maze of vendor stalls, catch the side attraction of Cantonese opera singers serenading the bustling shopaholics.

Sogo Hong Kong Co. Ltd - 555 Hennessy Rd., Causeway Bay, Hong Kong (Tel: 2833 8338)
SOGO's sleek minimalist lines are in stark contrast to the manmade mayhem inside. The highrise shopping emporium sits opposite the busiest crosswalk in the world. This is a must starting point for your shopping carnival. Elevators are available but most everyone ascends via the escalator, which drops shoppers off for shoes, dresses, jackets and beauty products. Level 9, the "Event Hall" is packed with big promotions like special sales on leather jackets, handbags, cosmetics, apparel and sporting goods.


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