A Guide to Ukay-ukay Shopping in the Philippines
When it comes to making sustainable fashion choices, it isn’t always easy when you’re surrounded by fast fashion brands everywhere you go. And for the cheap prices you can get their clothing, why would you want to shop at a pricier sustainable brand anyway? Well, luckily for you, there are so many other sustainable options and one of them is thrift shopping! Thrift shops have been around for such a long time and shopping from them is a really great way to support sustainable fashion while staying within your budget. What makes thrift shopping even more exciting is the fact that you can score such cool, unique pieces that you probably couldn’t find at your nearest fast fashion brand. So, if you haven’t gone thrift shopping before, now is definitely the time, and to make your thrifting experience a little easier, we’ve created a little guide for you to follow on your next or first trip to your local ukay-ukay.
Here's a little checklist of some things that'll come in handy on your next ukay-ukay trip:
Also, take note of these simple tips that'll help make your ukay-ukay experience more enjoyable and hassle free.
1. Bring a small purse to carry all your necessities
When you’re walking around a thrift store and going through all the tight aisles, you don’t wanna be worrying about lugging around a big backpack or side purse, so the best type of bag to bring would be a fanny pack because you can just clip that onto your waist and then have both hands free to comfortably look through all the clothes. Also, you don’t wanna be carrying too much anyways, all you really need in your bag is money, your phone, and any other minor essential.
2. Wear comfortable clothes
This is important because you will most probably break a sweat due to the thrift store just not having air conditioning or simply cause some thrift stores can be quite small and crowded and you’ll be navigating through that for at least a couple hours while also carrying around the pieces you find.
3. Try things on!
Seriously don’t be afraid to try things on! It’s the safest way to know if a piece truly fits and if it’s worth getting cause you don’t just wanna waste your money on things that you won’t end up using. Trying things on can also be a great way to discover pieces that you might not have imagined you’d like cause you actually get to see it on yourself.
4. Wear clothes that are easy to get in and out of / clothes that
If you do plan on trying on clothes then wearing comfortable clothes will make things so much easier because you don’t want to be struggling to get in and out of tight jeans each time you go to try something on. So it would be best if you wear things that are easy to take on and off or you can also opt for a tight but comfy outfit like a fitted top and bike shorts so that instead of taking your clothes off, you can just try on clothes on top of what you’re already wearing. It’s all up to you, just keep comfort and convenience in mind!
5. Things can always be altered
Keep in mind that you can always alter pieces to fit you better. For example, if you find a pair of jeans that are a little too big around the waist, you can definitely get that taken in! There are seriously endless possibilities, like shortening dresses and pants or cropping tops, just be creative. As for where to get your clothes altered, you can go to your nearest altering shop, they’re everywhere so just google where the nearest one to you is.
6. Check both the men and women’s sections
Don’t just limit yourself to one gender’s clothing section, especially if you’re a girl, you can definitely find some cool pieces from the guy's section. They have a great selection of graphic tees, oversized jackets and sometimes you can even find a pair of pants that’ll fit.
7. Be patient
Walking into a thrift store can seem a little overwhelming with the mounds of clothing you see when you enter, so instead of overthinking it, just start of small and walk over to one clothing rack first and look through all of that before moving on to the next one, that way even if you don’t get to look at everything at the thrift store, you’ll at least have been through with what you did get to see and you won’t miss out on any cool pieces. Just figure out a system that works best for you so that thrifting can be an enjoyable experience. If you’re patient and take the time to really look at everything then you’re definitely bound to find some exciting pieces.
8. Don’t be afraid to make “tawad”
Making “tawad” is a Filipino term which is used when you want to ask for a discount. Always try to do this, especially if the prices are kind of high because sometimes they do tend to price things a little bit higher than you’d expect, so try to get the best deal you possibly can. And if you’re buying a large quantity of items then you might have even better luck at getting a discount.
If you're deciding where to go thrifting, couple of places worth mentioning would be the well known Anonas and Makati Cinema Square, both located in Metro Manila, which are great since they are more established thrift stores and are easier to find. Just look them up on google if you plan on going and you should be able to find directions. Two other places known to have great thrift stores are Baguio and Tagaytay. If you’re in the area just look up thrift stores located there and a lot will come up. You can also find thrift stores almost anywhere else, just keep an eye out for signs that say ukay-ukay.