If you’ve read any guide books on Singapore you’ve probably been directed to Orchard Road for prime shopping. That’s all well and good if you regularly shop at Louis Vuitton and Prada, but even if you do shop there, you wouldn’t want to do it in Singapore because the prices are twice as high. Besides the high end luxury stores, there are also an assortment of other (still expensive, but not to the same extent) chain stores, but isn’t the point of traveling to see something different? That’s why I was a bit disappointed with Orchard Road. Also, it’s incredibly hard to cross the busy street from one side to the other, but that’s besides the point.
Well my friends, I’ve found a much better alternative and you wont find it in the guide books (at least not the ones I’ve looked in); the best spot I’ve discovered for a unique Singapore shopping experience is Haji Lane. This up and coming back street is filled with independent boutique style shops, each with their own flair. You would miss Haji Lane if you weren’t looking for it, as I did the first time I wandered around the Kampong Glam neighborhood a few weeks ago. However, it runs parallel to the famous Arab Street that leads to the equally famous Masjid Sultan mosque so it is quite conveniently located.
The shops are all quite reasonably priced, especially considering the quality and one of a kind pieces that are offered. I did however find that the shops tended to get a bit more expensive from one end to the other, but never even close to the extent that you would find in the luxury stores on Orchard Road. In fact, the real appeal for me was that the shops all felt like quite inviting and unpretentious hidden gems.
The shops all seem quite small from the outside, but most of them have staircases that lead to more clothing and wares in a loft style space. I loved this. It felt like I was shopping in someone’s amazing attic closet. Not in a creepy and dusty way though, more like someone with really great style and an eye for interior decorating was having an estate sale. (I hope that translates into the same image for everyone reading this that it does for me) Of course, not all the shops were the same and a few others had a different type of aesthetic, a bit more modern I suppose.
I also found that a lot of the shops had a keen eye for detail when it came to the shopper’s needs. For instance, I tried a few dresses on at a cute boutique that I fell in love with called Soon Lee and inside the dressing rooms they had a pair of strapless heels to try clothes on with if you wanted to see what something would look like in heels (for the men reading this, yes it makes a difference). A simple touch, but for me it spoke volumes. Also, it didn’t hurt that their clothes and accessories were to die for. I really had to practice my self restraint in there but I did cave and buy a ring.
Another great little boutique, Fabulous Fads, which also had amazing interior design if I do say so, offered the growing trend of dresses for rent. I’ve heard of sites like “Rent the Runway”, but never seen that service offered in smaller boutiques so I thought that was fantastic. Unfortunately, working on a boat offers little opportunity to get dressed up, so I won’t be able to take advantage of that find.
For the men out there, there were lots of options for male fashions, I just wasn’t as concerned with them you know, being a female and all that jazz. But if you enjoy shopping for unique and trendy clothes and accessories, definitely make your way to Haji Lane. But for now, here are some more photos, enjoy: