Playhouse: Bargain Basement Treasure Hunt
From what I’ve observed, university students have a handful of problems and being constantly broke often tops the list. That’s definitely the case with me and I navigate around that problem by constantly keeping an eye out for good deals. I heard of a sophisticated little bargain basement situated at Teen Talwar by the name of Playhouse and decided to pay it a visit in search of a leather jacket.
A friend explained the directions and when I arrived at the building next to Gulf Market, I was pleasantly surprised to find a proper concrete building announcing the presence of Karachi Playhouse. Upon entering I noticed that the building housed several small shops which offered a wide array of western wear. From crop tops and strapless dresses to more modest t-shirts and button downs.
It felt like I had entered a less fancy version of Mango. The individual shops were air-conditioned with dressing rooms and salesmen ready to help customers. There were myriads of western tops and formal wear. I entered the first shop and asked the shopkeeper for striped shirts. In a second he unpacked an entire packet of different kinds of striped shirts, from broad striped to multi-shaded, fitted and loose, sleeveless to full-sleeved. He seemed to have a bottomless stock of striped shirts.
Stacks on Stacks
As someone who gives formal presentations almost every month, button downs are an inevitable wardrobe choice for me. Whenever I search for them in mainstream shops they’re extremely expensive and lacking in variety. Thus, when I meekly asked a shopkeeper for button downs, I almost lost my breath when he pulled out a massive stack of silk, chiffon and linen button-downs. He even had victorian styled button-downs and lace button downs; my jaw dropped at the huge collection which had been unleashed in front of me.
Upon inquiring I came to know that most of the stock in the market was either export rejects or pre-loved. The tagged ones which were defected clothes were slightly more expensive than the preloved ones but the prices were half of what you’d expect to pay in any proper retail outlet.
The leather jackets were also pretty cheap and handy compared to what a fancy store would offer, although most of them were second hand. There were also shops selling lingerie, coats, and blazers, children’s clothes and bags and shoes, although the majority of them specialized in female western wear. A few shops eve stocked shorts, dresses, and skirts. Unlike a flea market, the building was a proper plaza. It was nothing like a normal street bazaar like Landa Bazaar or Sunday Bazaar which could also be attributed to its location (Teen Talwar Clifton) as well as the nature of its products which are usually sought by modern middle-class individuals.
Although everyone might not be open to the idea of wearing defected or pre-loved clothes, it is a sustainable option for those not trying to put a dent in their wallet just to look good. This was my first experience of shopping at a place like this, and I found it to be far more rewarding than normal shopping.
You have to peruse through a lot of stuff and are more conscious about your decisions; it was like a treasure hunt. You have to be pretty observant and savvy about shopping and well, your consumer utility is pretty high thanks to the cheap prices. Overall, the experience was very delightful and if you have a penchant for button downs or leather jackets like me and happen to be too broke for Mango then you should definitely visit Playhouse.