You pick up a magazine or watch a movie and see an item of clothing you like but the million-dollar question is, where in Zimbabwe do you get it? I must say kudos to Zimbabweans because we always find a way of making sure we do not get left behind. There is something for everyone, you just need to get “connected”.
- Department stores
A lot of these offer credit facilities, so one can take home an item of clothing and pay for it later. However, these stores tend to lag behind trend-wise so if you are a trend follower, you may not find what you would have seen in a magazine or on television. The clothes can also be overpriced at times and I’m seldom convinced the price is justified. The only upside is you get to wear the clothes “now” and pay for them later.
- The city shops
There are a plethora of city shops that try and bring the trends to Zimbabwe as soon as they can find them. Clothes are reasonably priced, but you need to pay cash upfront before you can own them. The downside is that their taste in outfits is identical, so there are hoards of the same item of clothing downtown. The good thing is that it allows you to shop around for cheaper options. There are some true gems in town, but you have to really move around. The city shops are great for buying inexpensive clothing that can be paired with expensive clothing, such as blouses, tank tops or leggings.
Flea market goods pricey
Flea market vendors usually shop in the same place as the city store owners, so they add to the myriad of identical designs out there. Once again, these want cash upfront before they hand over the goods. However, they tend to be pricier than the city shops, possibly because they are in prime locations, so they factor that into their prices.
- Second-hand clothes vendors
The demand for second-hand clothes has increased exponentially because the clothes are of very good quality since they come from overseas, unlike most of the clothes on the market that come from China or Dubai. China and Dubai do have good-quality clothes, but city shops and flea market vendors tend to import the cheaper stuff. The price of second-hand clothing is ridiculously affordable given the quality of the clothing you are paying for.
These clothes are donated to African countries, and then sold to the masses at giveaway prices. Whatever you buy, you are guaranteed it will be exclusive because they seldom have two of the same things. Each article of clothing is different from the next. Some of the donated items are in bad shape but others have barely been worn or were well-looked after.
- Informal traders
These are clothing salesmen and women who travel abroad to bring in clothing. They do not have stores and depend on word-of-mouth referrals as they work from home. The good thing about these is that you can pre-order and with technology, they can send you pictures via WhatsApp so you approve of their choices. They also extend credit terms. The wise ones do not bring in clothes for the masses and instead bring in few quantities of the same items of clothing or one of each.
These can be found in town or in shopping malls. They import their clothes and bring in unique pieces or few numbers of the same thing. Boutiques occasionally hold sales, so if you give them your contact details, they can keep you informed on when they will be offering discounts on some of their clothes.
- Designers and tailors
These can either custom-make something for you or you can buy one of their pieces. If you have a good tailor, you will have something in your wardrobe that fits like a glove and is a one-of-a- kind outfit, made just for you.