February 20, 2023 | 2:10pm
MANILA, Philippines — In a world of expensive everything—onions, oil, monthly bills, groceries and heck even your favorite fast food meal, what then is the last bastion of value shopping one can cling to? Well, one word: ukay-ukay.
Need to assemble an entire office wardrobe for cheap? On a desperate hunt for last-minute ensemble to some formal gathering? Or simply want to upgrade your closet for everyday wear? Ukay-ukay, more fondly nicknamed “ukay” by many, provides you with all manner of apparel that you need.
Thrifting is fashionable and sustainable
A phenomenon emerging from the eighties, stemming from an excess of humanitarian goods for calamity-stricken communities, the sale of and shopping for ukay-ukay (from the word “halukay” meaning “to dig”) quickly became prominent first in Cebu and Baguio, and eventually across the country over time.
Funnily enough, the craze has spread not only among regular Pinoys but also among celebrities.
Ukay-ukay is also known to come from a variety of sources, from the then excess donations from affluent countries, to the now more notorious company overruns and out-of-season discards from various retail giants abroad.
For the fast fashion industry, specifically, these excesses are grossly mishandled. They eventually end up in landfills that pollute the environment, causing harm not only to the planet but also to both human and wildlife with lasting effect.
It is in this regard that thrifting in the form of ukay-ukay, while not a wholesale solution to the fast fashion problem, is an important way to instead advocate for sustainable fashion. Acquire, not purchase; upcycle or recycle—these are the way.
Where to shop your ukay haul online
From humble, single-stall shops in your local plaza during weekend or night