With the pandemic at hand, fashion hasn’t really been on top of our minds. We’ve been so busy surviving that we were glad to have done it with our sweats on. Of course, keeping in mind that we basically only have enough finances to survive, and who has the energy anyway? And besides, we’re cooped up at home anyway so no one would care. That is until the love of my life – ukay-ukay – showed itself.
But not in the usual setting ukay-ukay is known for, with endless racks and seas of hangers, but online! I was so excited! It brings me to my pre-pandemic memories. Back then, I would spend hours on my favorite thrift stores, going from rack to rack as I sweat, trying to score good ‘3-for-100’ pieces.
Initially, seeing ukay in the new platform was weird for me. I wasn’t used to not seeing the thrifted pieces in my hands before deciding on a purchase, but what’s even weirder is there’s a lot patronizing thrifted pieces! It came as a shock to me as before, there aren’t really a lot of people leaning towards shopping ukays. If anything, ukay-ukay seemed somewhat taboo then.
Witnessing the change in the Filipino’s acceptance of thrift shopping is such a welcome change. And if you’re among those who still have reservations on buying ukays, allow me to convince you why ukay-ukay might just be your new best friend.
Good deals for cheap!
If there’s anything that ukays pride itself in, it would be the fact that it is affordable. Buying from ukay-ukay means not having to spend a crazy amount of money on a trendy piece of clothing. And I’m not even exaggerating when I tell you that you can score thrifted pieces for as low as 10 pesos!
Of course, the price tag can go a bit higher than usual as well especially if a new collection has just arrived, but still, they’re comparably cheaper than known brands.
Ukay-ukays have now entered the digital era! If before, you physically have to go the thrift stores and go through an ocean of clothes, online sellers – may it be via Facebook live, Instagram, or online shopping platforms – now do the hard work for you.
You may just tune in on any live selling or browse on social media and you might come across the perfect piece for you. If you’re lucky, you might even come across a seller that pre-washes the items they sell (most do that now, yay!). Thrift shopping has now become easier so for starters, I suggest you check those out.
Brands for less
One common misconception that a lot of people have against ukay-ukay is the belief that the clothes sold here are only good to use as rugs. Well, I hate to burst your bubble but ukays actually have a lot of gold to offer!
Beyond Y2K pieces and either unique or trendy ones, thrift stores actually offer a wide variety of overruns in good shape and quality. And not just clothes, thrift stores offer branded shoes and bags, as well. Making it a one-stop-shop that won’t pinch your pocket. All that’s left to do is to have a lot of patience as you do a scavenger hunt among the ukays.
One for sustainability
If you want to live more consciously for the environment, then ukay-ukay might just be the first step you’re looking for to take as thrifting actually proves to be sustainable! The fashion industry contributes 10% of the global carbon emission. What’s more, is clothing production generally impacts our environment negatively. Water pollution, waste accumulation, and greenhouse gases emissions are only a few of the major impacts it has on the environment.
Although buying second-hand or thrift clothing doesn’t entirely solve this problem, it’s a good start to lessen the negative impact of (over) production in fast fashion.
Known personalities love ukays too!
If the above reasons still haven’t convinced you to shop ukays, marvel at the vintage and unique fashion sense of some known personalities. Mimiyuuuh and Shaira Luna did an entire collab vlog where they went on thrift stores and scored vintage wears. On another vlog, Mimiyuuuh wore ukay fits on her Osaka trip (who would’ve thought, right?). Yeng Constantino showed us her thrift bag on her ukay-ukay haul vlog. Even Heart Evangelista didn’t pass up the opportunity to find treasures on a thrift trip in Sorsogon!
Point is, there’s a lot of good stuff in ukay-ukay. And if these known personalities love having a go at it, then maybe it’s time that we do.
A trip to the thrift store is an exhilarating experience. It’s rewarding to score a piece of clothing that fits as if the Gods made it for you! And you never know, maybe your next favorite fit is waiting for you at an ukay store, so why don’t you go ahead and find out yourself. After all, trying this won’t hurt you or your pocket.
Joma is an enthusiastic public-speaker and a passionate story-teller. Armed with a pen, her wild ideas, and zest for the unseen, she goes far and wide to sew words and unearth stories. Beyond what she loves, you'll find her snuggled in between silent giggles, engrossed with rom-coms and sweet delights.