I’ve been an avid thrifter since I was 15 – and am well acquainted with all sorts of thrifting locations in the US. However, I was fairly unprepared for the thrifting scene when I arrived in Tbilisi for my study abroad program. I had done just enough research to know that thrifting existed here, but I was vastly unprepared for the scope of it: in Tbilisi, thrift stores are everywhere.
This article is part of our much larger Guide to Living in Tbilisi.
Curated Thrift Stores in Tbilisi
Starting off with something familiar, we have the “curated” thrift stores. These, more often than not, can be found on a map, and almost always have some sort of cool name and nice decor inside. The clothes, as the name suggests, are curated, meaning hand-picked by staff for quality, age, brand, or just because they’re cool.
As I mentioned before, curated thrift stores are the easiest to find. The one I’m near most often is Vintylator Vintage, as it has a couple of locations in different neighborhoods of Tbilisi. The stores are usually small, but have pretty cool vintage pieces, and an especially neat selection of vintage sunglasses. Be prepared for prices ranging anywhere from $20-200 here though. Next is Dezerter Vintage, near the Station Square Metro Station. Like Vintylator, the vibe here is trendy and the clothes are hand picked. If you’re looking for curated shoes specifically, this place has a pretty wide variety to choose from! Lastly, and one of my favorites, is Remarket Vintage Shop. The space is small and a little hard to find at first (you have to walk through a short tunnel and across a small parking lot to get to the door), but I loved the uniqueness of the clothes I saw there! The prices are pretty standard for curated shops here as well, but they had a 10 lari ($3.80) rack upstairs for those more on a budget. I’m sure there’s a multitude of other curated stores in the city I haven’t been to, but these come to mind first.
- Dezerter vintage: 14 Queen Tamar Avenue
- Vintylator Marjanishvili; 10 Egnate Ninoshvili Street
- Vintylator Rustaveli: 46 Shota Rustaveli Ave
- Remarket Vintage Shop: 18 Shota Rustaveli Avenue
Stand-Alone Thrift Stores
A lot of the stand-alone stores won’t be on maps, and many of them are unnamed or called something like “clothes and shoes”, but there are a few known chains around Tbilisi. The clothing here is not curated, and consists of a mix of used clothes from Europe and the U.S., and excess from fast-fashion brands like Zara.
Close to the city center and with several locations, there’s Humana. This is the closest thing to a Goodwill that I’ve seen thus far, with fairly similar prices and a variety of clothing. This is also one of the few thrift stores I’ve visited with changing rooms, a definite bonus!
Another option is Second Hand Clothing House. This feels like your standard thrift store, most comparable to a local charity shop. The clothes are also not curated, but do have a pretty high turnover rate, so there’s a new selection of clothes each time you visit.
Next are the stores not on the map. To recognize these stores, look for clothes (especially a variety of clothes that don’t fit a theme or appear used) hanging up outside open doors, or signs with clothes and shoes on them outside (see photos).
One of my favorite neighborhoods for this type of store is Marjanishvilli, based around the metro station of the same name. Walking up Mikheili Tsinamdzghvrishvili, one of its main steets, you’re sure to see an abundance of second-hand stores on either side, many in basements with stairs leading down to them. These types of stores are where I’d start to recommend bartering as well (as long as the clothes are unpriced). However, your success will also largely rely on your language skills: if you know Georgian (or, like me, enough to ask how much and count to 20), you can try to barter in Georgian. Often, the shop owners also speak Russian, and I’ve definitely fallen back on my Russian to ask questions or barter the price down. English will likely be the least effective, as shop-owners are likely to charge more if you’re American.
You are also likely to find these in any neighborhood you are staying in – so definitely keep your eyes open.
- Humana 1: 32 Shota Rustaveli Avenue
- Humana 2: 12 Ilia Chavchavadze Avenue
- Humana 3: 2 Ketevan Dedofali 6, Tbilisi 0110
- ‘Second Hand’ Clothing House: 9 Akaki Tsereteli Avenue
- Marjanishvilli shops: Around Marjanishvilli Metro Station
The Bazaars of Tbilisi
Finally, and my personal favorite, the markets. The markets are not just clothes: they can have food, antiques, electronics, clothes, jewelry, military gear, and a variety of other items. These are known locally as “bazari.”
You will encounter a language barrier at the markets without a decent amount of Georgian or Russian. I mainly use Russian if I need to talk, and Georgian if I just want a quick transaction and a lower price. Markets are also going to take the longest, as clothing is often heaped on tables or crowded into small spaces. If you enjoy the ‘treasure hunt” feeling while thrifting, this is absolutely for you. If not, I would stick to the stand-alone shops and curated stores.
Dry Bridge Market is one of the most popular markets. It’s just a quick walk from the Liberty Square metro station. You can find vendors here selling antiques, jewelry, art, and a variety of other items. Despite having the least amount of secondhand clothing and the highest prices, the Dry Bridge market is absolutely worth it for the view of Tbilisi, and the convenient location.
Dezerter Bazaar, another option, is a maze of secondhand vendors to get lost in, with impossibly low prices. I’ve found high-quality vintage clothes here for as little as 1 lari (about $0.38).
The Samgori Bazaar is a bit out of the way, but is impossibly big, and second-hand vendors are dispersed throughout. A 1 minute walk from the Samgori metro station, you can find pretty much anything there. I’ve seen everything from antique china, to charging cords, to fresh vegetables and meat, to military fatigues. It spans both sides of the street, and even under the street in the metro station. I would strongly recommend devoting at least a couple hours here and allowing yourself to wander (but maybe dropping a pin on maps for where you start, as the bazaar can be a bit maze-like).
Thrifting in Tbilisi
I love the uniqueness of thrifted clothes, and as someone who loves fashion but not the price that comes with it, thrifting is the most affordable way to find clothes to express myself.
Thrifting in Tbilisi is incredibly versatile, and using this guide, you can curate your experiences to your own tastes. When I thrift, I love to spend hours digging through clothes to find the best pieces at the best prices. However, I also have friends who get tired after 30 minutes of browsing a store, and would prefer for everything to be laid out in front of them. So, whatever your preferences are, Tbilisi has something for you. Happy thrifting!
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This article is part of our much larger Guide to Living in Tbilisi.
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