I’ve probably already said it before and maybe more than once, but I love ukay ukay (or thrift shopping as it’s called in other countries).
What is believed to have started in Baguio in the 1980s (called wagwagan, named after the way one would dust off a piece of clothing), ukay ukay, derived from the word halukay or rummaging, is so commonplace now. You’d find it so easy to find one wherever in the country you are.
There are, of course, the more popular ones — the ones in Baguio, Anonas, Tagaytay and Makati Cinema Square. The ones you’ll find in small neighborhoods are just as filled with interesting pieces, though.
Now, I understand the qualms and uneasiness when it comes to using secondhand clothing. But I’d honestly pick the laborious task of disinfecting thrifted clothing than adding to the waste fast fashion — and fashion in general — is producing.
Here are some of the reasons why I buy from ukay ukay, and why I think you should, too.
I mean, yes, you can buy a shirt for PHP300 but you can also ukay one for PHP20. Of course, the quality would be different because one is new and the other has been used, but your new shirt will only be new until you wear it. I’ve bought a couple of outfits (top and bottom) for roughly PHP400, and isn’t that a good deal?
It’s a treasure trove
You can definitely score some items that can pass off as on-trend. But I think the best part of going to an ukay ukay is actually finding something that is not the same as what is currently in the market. It’s like a treasure trove for things you genuinely like but can’t find somewhere else.
This could be just the manang (old lady) in me but I like pieces that are not hip, and I find that going to ukay-ukays is the perfect place to find them. You might also be surprised to find a designer piece during one of your shopping trips.
Textile waste is no joke, and how we are lured into following every trend and buying every new thing that comes out doesn’t help. Supporting sustainable fashion is great, of course, but the choices are still limited and costly. So here’s the cheaper solution.
Try to eliminate the waste by recycling clothes — look good while you’re at it, too.
I’ve vowed to wear only thrifted clothes — except for underwear because I don’t think I’ll be at peace with that — and I hope you can consider trying to add more thrifted clothing to your wardrobe, too.