Timeless Stores Near Times Square
It’s the fourth day of a long week and you know what that means…it’s throwback Thursday! Our last feature article on Causeway Bay took us back in time to the 1900s, taking a glimpse into the history behind the streets that our favorite shopping plazas now call home. Although most Causeway Bay stores are constantly hopping on the newest trends to keep up with the times and the tourists (lure modules, anyone?), a select few have chosen to operate their businesses to preserve pieces of a nostalgic past. This week’s article features a few of Causeway Bay’s vintage stores and the stories behind their veteran doors.
Sam the Record Man
Walking in, one immediately notices the bright red carpet paved across the floor, the neatly organized rows and columns of vinyls, and the rich, classical melody of La Donna È Mobile playing in the background. Started from humble beginnings and a simple outlet in Wan Chai in 1987, Sam the Record Man now holds a multitude of local and international awards for its much coveted collection of rare vinyl records. Whether an experimenting novice or an old school music fanatic, you’ll find that founder James Tang has the patience, experience, and the ear to cater to your specific needs.
Collecting music was always a hobby of James’ from a young age. Before opening Sam the Record Man he worked as an overnight operator for Hong Kong Telecom, working by night and collecting records by day. Finally, he decided to turn his hobby into a full-time profession.
“I wanted to show young people that you can start anything you like. No need to worry about failure, as long as you like what you are starting.”
Like any business, Sam the Record Man had its ups and downs. In 2002, the business was forced to move out of Sogo Department Store following the Hong Kong financial crisis. Despite this challenge, today it still stands proud and tall and has found its own niche as an upstairs shop in Nam Hing Fong, a small tower nestled near Times Square.
“As long as you have passion, your business will survive. During the financial crises, everything else died. But my passion survived.”
James also has a lot to say about our generation and the way we listen to music. For every customer that enters his store, he not only hopes that they find what they seek, but he also shares his knowledge on the devout appreciation of his true passion.
SatisFactory Vintage Emporium
Looking for the perfect, unique wedding dress? Look no further. SatisFactory Vintage Emporium specializes in tailoring and customizing lace vintage wedding dresses that will definitely make you shine (even without the sequins and diamonds) on your wedding day. Owner Salina Lam and her brother started the store in 2000 selling vintage luggages and cameras. After the passing of her brother and an unfortunate robbery incident, Salina revamped the store and began selling wedding dresses to continue what her brother started and pursue her hobby of collecting lace and vintage fabrics.
Her cluttered yet cozy shop radiates a personality of its own, with lacy off-white dresses sweeping towards the floor, swinger hats stacked on top one another, floral bouquets and wreaths decked upon the room, and vanity tables filled with vintage-style jewellery. For a second, one may forget that this is Hong Kong, not early 20th century London. Likewise, the dresses she sells are unlike the usual glitzy and glamourous, but beautiful in its own elegant and delicate way. Although some may prefer not to dorn second hand clothing, SatisFactory’s wedding dresses are special in that no two are made the same.
“A wedding is a once in lifetime thing. You want to be unique. You want it to be your very own memory, you don’t want to have a dress that everyone else in our day has or can get.”
SatisFactory imports their vintage dresses from England, hence their ageless Victorian style. Although wedding attire is their main expertise, they also offer vintage style jewellery to match with your very own dress on your special day.
“Buying a good piece of vintage lace is an investment. Every once in a while lace is all over the trend. We want people to treasure past garments. People in the past put a lot of effort into making it, you can tell when you tailor it. It shouldn’t be wasted, it should be treasured, worn again, and kept for the next generation.”
Although Hong Kong’s vintage scene isn’t exactly booming, SatisFactory’s philosophy of sustainable vintage fashion teaches us to think twice before we throw away old clothing and buy again. Instead of purchasing the next season of a big name brand, why not consider preserving and investing in something from the past? Shopping at stores like SatisFactory brings us back to cherishing well crafted clothing.
SatisFactory Vintage Emporium
Address: Suite 2M, 2/F Po Foo Building, Causeway Bay
Opening Hours: Mon-Sat, 16:00-19:00
Good Old Days 想當年
From Rolex, to Piaget, to Cartier, find it all at Good Old Days. This store (literally) takes you back in time with its collection of inspected and refurbished vintage watches that are shined up to be just as good as new or even better. Owner Mr. Szeto has been in the game for more than 25 years, selling and displaying the watches he’s collected since his previous days as a professional cyclist.
Holding up a 1980s Baume Mercier carefully chosen from the polished glass displays, Mr. Szeto explains the many reasons for owning a vintage watch. For one, a watch is a staple piece and with mass production and trends picking up fast, a vintage watch guarantees that your staple piece is one of its kind. For another, the law of supply and demand guarantees that the same luxury watch from the 1900s is much more affordable today. Many of his customers buy a vintage watch from his store due to a sentimental reason to own a piece of the past.
“When you were young, you saw your boss wearing a fancy watch. Back then you couldn’t afford to buy it, but now you can fulfill your dream of owning such a watch. For many, they want to own something they could not own in the past.”
Good Old Days ensures transparency with their prices and services all old watches to ensure optimal durability. You can find a repair number on every watch as well as the plus or minus in accuracy. Mr. Szeto takes pride in the strong sense of responsibility they have for their customers.
“We service all our watches before we put it in the case. For the image and reputation of my own shop but also for my customers. Hong Kong customers can come back to our shop and have the watch repaired any time but we have a lot of overseas customers who can’t come back that we have to take care of too.”
With over one thousand watches on display or in collection, the only watch you won’t be able to find here is an Apple watch. Happy shopping!
Good Old Days 想當年
Address: Shop P408A, 4F, World Trade Center, Causeway Bay
Opening Hours: Mon-Sun, 11:30-21:00