Written by: Giannel Marcos
Prod. by: Kat Doloricon & Pam Esclanda
Art & Layout by: LUNA M.
Ukay-ukay or thrift shopping began in the Philippines back in 1980’s in Baguio. It gained popularity all over the country for its branded yet cheap shoes, clothes, bags, etc. Fast forward to now, we already have many ukay-ukay stores all over Metro Manila and even all over social media especially on Instagram in bidding forms.
It is indeed fun to shop for vintage yet classy and cheap fashion items especially that these days, the booming streetwear culture supports the whole deal. That is why us, the girls of DBTK’s creative team headed to Anonas LRT 2 station (southbound) to check out its famous four-level thrift shop and to also give you tips on how to thrift the cool and of course, practical way.
Given the numerous selection of thrift stores in this mall, we decided to start at the fourth level and work our way down. The top levels have the most costly tags which are mostly designer items – now if you move to the lower levels of the malls, you will still be to look for great finds and with more affordable tags like shirts, jogging pants, blouses, etc., but you have to have patience and a good eye for such luck.
Now, let us give you tips we found important in thrift shopping especially in a place this big.
1. PREPARE A CERTAIN BUDGET AND STICK TO IT!
It is important to plan how much you should and are willing to spend for your ukay-ukay trip. This provides an organized quest for you in terms of looking for the right garments with the right prices. Now, most people sometimes spend more than they are supposed to when the cheap price tags excite them which totally ruins the main goal of your thrift shopping. This is when tip number 2 comes in handy.
2. BARGAIN AS MUCH AS YOU CAN!
Many ukay-ukay shoppers don’t know that despite the already low prices of the items, they could actually always bargain for an even lower price for the item they wish to purchase especially if they have stains (although make sure you can still remedy them with some laundry treatment), if they are missing a button, etc. This way, you may maximize your purchase without compromising your budget.
3. HAVE A CLEAR IDEA OF WHAT YOU WANT TO GET
It is important to envision a look or looks before thrift shopping so that you would only have to focus on certain racks when you get there. This narrows down your selection, saving your energy and time in picking up the items you want and need.
4. ALWAYS CHECK THE QUALITY
Like mentioned in the previous tip, there could be stains, missing buttons, torn garments, etc. which are not always fixable. Some stains are permanent, some buttons are rare that you can hardly find replacements, and torn garments are usually a hopeless case. You don’t need to deal with these permanent damages just because they are cheap, thus you should just keep looking for quality items to make your shopping worth it!
5. BRING SOME FRIENDS
Bringing a friend when thrift shopping is both fun and practical because they could help you in giving you advice whether an oversized jacket looks good on you or not, they can help you find what you’re looking for in an ocean of racks, and they can always make the exhausting search seem like a chill walk in the park.
6. NEVER SKIP FITTING!
Ukay stores usually have fitting rooms where you can fit the clothes you are eyeing. Never ever skip fitting even when the fitting room is just made up of curtains. Have your friend/s help you secure the fitting area if it is a little dodgy to make sure you don’t go home with an unrepairable oversized shirt or any garment so cropped it makes you look like an adult wearing outgrown babywear.
For bottoms, try the classic tita fitting hack which is placing the waistline of the pants, shorts, etc. around your neck. If the waistline meets at the back of your neck perfectly without choking you or without too much space, then the pants or shorts will fit.
7. ALWAYS BE AWARE OF THE SURROUNDINGS
Ukay stores are usually located in sketchy areas and are guaranteed to be crowded given the price bait. Now, where there is so much opportunity like that, pickpockets are most likely to lurk. This is why it is important for you and your friends to look after each other or if you are alone, keep your belongings securely attached to you.
A DBTK friendly tip: the best place or situation to wear the DBTK fanny packs that come in different colors (check out the site). These fanny packs can carry all your valuable items safely without being unnoticeably grabbed away from you.
Thrift shopping should never be a hassle as long as you follow the tips above and enjoy the whole trip especially with your squad.