I’ve been an Ukay trotter for as long as I could remember. Back when my mother took me to her own ukay trots, at first I found it too overwhelming to look through clothes at bare setting. Fast forward into the years and now that I’m doing my own personal hunts, I’ll always be on auto-pilot walking towards to the glass door and inwardly spazz at the stretches of clothes to look at. Armed with my bag, my ear-plugged music and scrutinizing eyes, I step into the store and ready to commence my Ukay Ukay adventures in the name of thrifts and economical fashion!
So if you haven’t tried your hands (and legs) at buying at Ukay-Ukay, I’ll give you five reasons why you should try it.
5 Reasons Why I Love Ukay-Ukay
1. They are EVERYWHERE.
– And every city has them. Not just one store, perhaps even more than three of them close by. You can’t miss seeing their usual characteristic: racks and racks of clothes and gray/green hangers, gray walls, no particular fancy interior, country tracks playing through the air and signage are written on colorful cartolinas. Yep, that’s them.
(Yeah, I get the delightful lightheadedness when I see Ukay stores, but it’s just too frustrating having to browse through tight displays of tops and dresses. Makes it hard for me to scrutinize the clothing I’m trying to take from the rack. But that’s just me.)
2. Those discounted prices.
– There are Newly Arrival prices… and then there are prices of 10PHP, 35PHP, 50PHP and 100PHP for one clothing or for a lot of three and four choices. When Ukay stores revamped their current stash to make way for newly arriving items, they give a crazy-huge discount price — and you can even haggle them off. Just how cool is that? Imagine what you can buy from your 500PHP budget? I got me a pair of shoes, two dresses, a skirt and a top… and an awesome change of 50PHP. Hee!
3. Lucky finds for branded items (you name it, Ukay (somehow) has it!)
– I’ll be honest to admit that I cringed to branded clothes’ prices… and then before I knew it I’d gasp to find same the brands at super lowered prices at Ukays during my impromptu visits. I really wonder how these branded clothes got there in the first place? Nonetheless they are certainly welcomed to my fashion-loving arms. Sometimes I even find Japanese brands like H. Naoto, Liz Lisa and Hungry Angry. Woo!
4. Who says Ukay sells clothes only? They’ve got bags, toys and gadgets for collections too.
– I didn’t much pay attention to non-clothing wares… until I had my own experience at looking through toys and gadgets with my Ukay buddies Lei and Yoru and boy was I impressed to find limited editions of this and that. Stuffed Toys at Ukay are always a delight to look at, especially when I recognize as them as characters from anime, manga, games and movies — only then it would occur to me that those kind of stuff don’t happen to be available at local toy stores at all. The hunt of collection is on, and your one stop treasury for it is — you name it — Ukay-ukay.
5. You just never know what to find when you visit Ukay-ukay.
– and because they are surplus-ed clothes from various places like Japan, Korea, Thailand and some European countries, chances of finding fashionable wears are really REALLY high. And not just everyday wear, I even got myself appropriate attires for the cosplays that I do and will be doing in shoots. Really!
Unsanitized Ukay finds = potential hazardous element? Well…
All of my years and experience of Ukay hunts, visits and usages, I have not come across any problems with them. Take it from using surplus-ed clothes like tops, vests and jackets — no skin rashes, breakouts or itches or any of the sort. For shoes and boots, I’ve been lucky to find pairs that are of best condition when I bought them. And have been gentle on my very easily injured feet (a personal problem of mine, see?).
For any under garmets, I don’t really recommend you buying it from Ukays. Take it safe and buy them from Department Stores instead. Hand-me-down intimate wears were someone else’s personal item so… yeah. You know where I’m going with this.
Simple safety measures for newly bought Ukay clothes: Boiled Water and Laundry Soap and the Sun.
I do precautionary steps when I buy stuff from Ukay — and all I’ll need are the kettle and some laundry soap to go with it, to dry it them off under the hot sun. As mentioned here (Will boiling [cotton] clothes get them clean? , Bleaching power of the Sun), boiled water fights off germs and bacterias and can make any surface clean and sanitize again. The Sun helps bleaching your clothes too. And after that, you can wear them to your heart’s delight.
Steps are as follow…
1. Boil water in kettle until kettle whistles. Set aside.
2.Using a plastic basin, place bought clothes (do separate colored clothes from white clothes. Don’t wash them together to avoid color spill – or whatever it is you call that.)
3. Sprinkle good amount laundry soap over clothes.
4. And then pour boiled water over clothes. Poke the clothing to dip them into the water more.
Leave them overnight, or (if you’re in a hurry to use them) at least for 2-3 hours in morning and hang them dry under the blazing sun during the afternoon.