Determined to snag a pair of the orange or purple animal print jeans so popular amongst girls in Santiago? How about a new fanny pack or some crazy party clothes? Head to the streets of Patronato where you can find just about any article of clothing or accessory in almost every bright color or pattern you can imagine.
Photo by Celina Carroll
These myriad stores are centered in the Patronato area of Santiago’s Recoleta barrio that claims to be “the commercial and cosmopolitan neighborhood of Chile.”
In this indoor and outdoor Mecca of shopping one can not only find brightly patterned genie pants, a multitude of plaid shirts and pleather jackets, but also toxic yellow wigs, glittery tights, belly dancing scarves adorned with coins and of course the ever-present Iron Maiden t-shirts (CP$2,500 in many stores) that one can’t walk two blocks without seeing.
At the store “Hebra,” a young woman in a thick headband sells American-Apparel-esque, well-designed sweatshirts in turquoise, bright purple, dark red and just about any other color imaginable for an un-American-Apparel price of CP$3,000 to CP$5,000 each.
Inside Plaza Recoleta, “Má Rox” is bustling with young women and their mothers, looking through fall-ready, double-breasted, hooded sweatshirts, tiger-print jeans and electric-hued shirts perfect for carreteando (partying).
At “Muñeca,” crowds of window-shopping teenage girls study warm, hooded, gray-and-charcoal plaid jackets (CP$1,200), talk about studded dark-rinse jeans (CP$12,900) and feel the faux-leather jackets (CP$14,000) before walking away happily, on to the next store.
Down the street, two older Chilean women stand in front of a wall of beaded necklaces, scarves and dresses at “Ropa Hindu.” This small Indian-themed shop offers patchwork, printed silk MC Hammer-style pants (CP$4,000) and gorgeous scarves to spice up any outfit for a mere luca (CP$1,000).
On the way out, stop by “Maniki,” where the young designer and owner sells handmade women’s clothing, using blocks of color and various materials such as silk and pleather. The store also boasts modernized fanny packs that are sleek, multi-pocketed and popular with Chileans and on-the-move gringos alike.
No matter what you’re looking for, Patronato is a phenomenal place to people watch and find inspiration in the colorful, lively people of Santiago. And unlike the tourist traps such as the Bellavista market or Fería Santa Lucia, at Patronato you’ll also find Chileans shopping alongside you. Or if you’re trying not to stand out, just pick up an Iron Maiden shirt and you’ll fit right in.
Open daily, during daylight hours
Eusebio Lillo 321- Local 327
"Ma Rox,"" Muñeca," "Maniki"
Inside at Dardignac 418, Local 2-32
Recoleta 257, Local 10