Often in Sri Lankan clothing stores you can find designer wear going dirt cheap. Most of these clothes come from garment factories. They are either rejected shipments or a result of surplus production. It’s technically illegal for the factories concerned to sell these items but they do so anyway, lucky for us.
I’m not going to go into the morality of the whole thing. Clothing is a basic human need. I just came here to talk shop.
There’s a new shop down highlevel road that had great gear going very very cheap. This shop has dropped all pretence and simply called itself The Factory Outlet (TFO for short). There were jeans by Lee and Wrangler going for like a thousand bucks along with an array of other designer wear with labels cut off or descreetly erased selling for low prices. This was only a couple of days ago, so I’m betting these items are still there.
Of course there are a good number of items that are clearly fakes, with made up brand names so you have to know how to separate the chaff. There are also some on-the-fence stuff like soft leather Crocodile wallets for about Rs.700. And don’t bother with the shoes. There was a ladies section also, and kids; but I didn’t venture in.
Where else do they sell designer wear dirt cheap? Spellbound, also on Highlevel road has great t-shirts. Most of their shirts however are made presumably for hulking Europeans cause they only have from size XXL upwards. Cool Planet also has some good stuff. House of Fashions has the occasional hidden gem but most of the time you shouldn’t bother. And take my advice and be wary of Odel, anything you find there can be obtained more or less for half the price at any of the other stores I’ve mentioned. Cotton Collection is not bad though. Although there are plenty of other shops popping up everywhere now, so if you know a place, do share.
Where does the stock come from? Local factories obviously. But also from India and Pakistan. A lot of the fakes come from Thailand and China. How do they operate and how does the distribution work? The answer to that would make for very interesting investigative journalism.
Why go designer? Well aside from the fact that designer wear obviously looks better, the quality is far superior and will last you for years if needed. Usually you pay a massive premium for design and quality and that’s why designer clothing is a multibillion dollar global industry. In Sri Lanka though, our unique position as a manufacturer of designer garments has given us a great positive externality. So why not?