Visit ukaymanila.com to check for online ukay ukay store or its mirror site, Ukay Multiply

ukay ukay>


I first came across the word “ukay-ukay” from my mother-in-law who lives somewhere in Benguet. It was circa 1992. Just so everyone knows what ukay-ukay means, let me quote my daughter:

Simply put, ukay-ukay is thrifting/thrift-store shopping, Philippine-style. I say ““Philippine style” because ukay stores are not so much clean, brightly-lit places like the ones you see in malls as they are hole-in-the-wall outlets that are often dusty and disorganized. Clothes are generally arranged according to tops, dresses, jeans, etc., but there are racks and racks of them and sometimes, piles and piles of them. Which is why the thrift-store shopping experience is called ukay. The word ukay is a Visayan word that literally means ““to dig through” (source: my mom, who speaks Bisaya) and ukay-ukay shopping can sometimes involve hours of wading through junk (and suffering from sneezing fits) to find dirt-cheap fashion gems.

Now that everyone knows what ukay-ukay means, allow me to give you a history of how ukay-ukay became such a hit with my girls.

One day, mom gave me a bunch of lovely children’s clothes. “Used clothing?”, I thought it was only meant for those that can’t afford to buy clothes. But when I saw the array of unique children’s clothes on my sofa, hmm…I thought it was cute enough to wear at the oath taking of my father-in-law at the Malacanang Palace. The girls never knew it was ukay-ukay clothing until they were in college. Not that it mattered. Lauren seemed fascinated with sailor clothes that she’d often buy marine-themed tops or skirts. Apparently, she had fond memories of this particular sailor dress. I told her that the dress she wore in Malacanang was ukay-ukay. She seemed pleasantly surprised.

When my mom-in-law told me the cost of each of the children’s clothes, I was amazed at the low prices and the good quality despite being used clothing. Those clothes above cost around 20 to 30 pesos during those days. Mom, a talented crafts person bought these ukay clothes for her beautiful quilt projects. She’d cut up the dress and use the fabric for her grandmother’s quilt. I got sucked in to grandmother quilt projects myself but until now, I still have to finish working on it. Most often, she’d be in the lookout for clothes for her grandchildren until they reached their pre-teen years. What a sweet grandma she is.

I never really hunted for ukay-ukay clothes myself because they were mostly located in the Northern parts of the country especially Baguio City. Being a cost-conscious mother, I often bought the children’s dresses only on birthdays and Christmas. The rest of their casual wear came from Divisoria. The opportunity came when the two girls were scheduled to leave for the USA and Canada in the Spring season for their Manila Children’s Choir tour. Luckily, the training was held at Baguio city and it gave me a chance to shop for clothes fit for spring. Jackets, sweaters and warm clothing, the ukay-ukay stores had it all. Since the kids were just pre-teens then, they didn’t complain much when I bought clothes for them. Until they became teenagers…

ukay
Photo taken in 2003

My two girls scoured the ukay-ukay shops ever since they turned 13. My husband’s family lived in Baguio so naturally, he had siblings who knew all the best ukay places in the city. During a summer visit to Baguio, they took the girls there to buy unique finds. Lauren went absolutely nuts, grabbing everything that caught her eye and felt no guilt for paying 100 pesos (about $2) for a top. Lauren is now 22 and she still wears some of the clothes she bought back then.

It wasn’t just getting cheap clothes that attracted my children to ukay-ukay. Lauren says that:

Ukay-ukay is a very big part of my lifestyle, and it’s not because I want to be ““cool”, an ““indie (a word I hate) fashionista (a word I hate even more)”, or ““different” (though it is a huge plus that pretty much every item there is one-of-a-kind). Believe it or not, there’s a political reason behind restricting my shopping to secondhand items. I believe ukay shopping is a way of resisting the consumerist logic of today. People don’t really need a top that costs P800 or a pair of jeans that cost P3,000, but we buy them anyway. Why? Because we are all advertising targets who are led to think that filling up our wardrobes with overpriced (but mass-produced!) clothes is the only way we can feel good and go about ““expressing our individuality and style”. By buying into this logic – not just with clothes, but with other consumer goods like electronics – we nourish the roots and turn a blind eye to a transnational economic system that exploits labor with capital.

During difficult times, it pays to be a smart shopper yet retain one’s own fashion style. I’m proud that Lauren learned to be thrifty and saved most of her money instead of spending it on branded clothes, so much so, she even bought a condominium today.

Let me shamelessly plug Lauren’s latest business venture, ukaymanila.com. The online ukay-ukay store is not yet live but please subscribe to ukaymanila.com so you will receive updates on her unique finds. if there is anyone who is an ukay-ukay expert, it is Lauren. She has been in most of the the ukay-ukay havens in Metro Manila and in Northern Luzon since she was 13 and an ukay-ukay model since 5 years old.

You will be surprised at the wonderful discoveries at her ukaymanila.com. I hope you can support my daughter’s latest entrepreneurial project.

ukayukay
Visit ukaymanila.com

Noemi Lardizabal-Dado (1213 Posts)

You may contact Noemi (noemidado @ gmail.com) for speaking and consultancy services in the following areas: Parenting in the Digital Age (includes pro-active parenting on cyber-bullying and bullying) ; Social Business ; Reinventing One’s Life; and social media engagement. Our parenting workshop is called "Prep to Prime (P2P): Parenting in the Digital Age (An Un­Workshop)" P2P Un­Workshops are conducted by two golden women in their prime, Noemi and Jane, who have a century’s worth of experience between them. They are both accomplished professionals who chose to become homemakers. This 180­degree turn also put them on a different life course which includes blogging, social media engagement and citizen advocacy. They call their un­workshops Prep to Prime or P2P, for short, to emphasize the breadth of their parenting experience. They tackle different aspects and issues of parenting ­­ from managing pregnancies, prepping for the school years of children, dealing with househelp, managing the household budget, to maximizing one’s prime life and staying healthy through the senior years.


About Noemi Lardizabal-Dado

You may contact Noemi (noemidado @ gmail.com) for speaking and consultancy services in the following areas: Parenting in the Digital Age (includes pro-active parenting on cyber-bullying and bullying) ; Social Business ; Reinventing One’s Life; and social media engagement. Our parenting workshop is called "Prep to Prime (P2P): Parenting in the Digital Age (An Un­Workshop)" P2P Un­Workshops are conducted by two golden women in their prime, Noemi and Jane, who have a century’s worth of experience between them. They are both accomplished professionals who chose to become homemakers. This 180­degree turn also put them on a different life course which includes blogging, social media engagement and citizen advocacy. They call their un­workshops Prep to Prime or P2P, for short, to emphasize the breadth of their parenting experience. They tackle different aspects and issues of parenting ­­ from managing pregnancies, prepping for the school years of children, dealing with househelp, managing the household budget, to maximizing one’s prime life and staying healthy through the senior years.

  • http://scroochchronicles.com/ Cookie

    nice site!! and i love the ukay shops in baguio. was able to get some really nice designer sweaters there. my husband, though, is the winner. he got a marlboro leather and canvas carry-all bag for about 1500 lang. we checked the price of a brand new bag and it cost around 19k!!

    Cookies last blog post..Photohunt : Warm

    • http://aboutmyrecovery.com Noemi

      Yeah they have this special ukay store for branded bags . what a bargain. Lauren might spend her vacation shopping for her online ukay finds.

  • http://www.thewifeydiaries.blogspot.com Jannesse

    hi Ms. Noemi! I am a big fan of ukay-ukay too. Most of my clothes are bought from the Ukay stores. I spend 1k-2k come payday at the Ukay store and come home with lots and lots of clothes, shoes and bags. Happy, happy me!

    Jannesses last blog post..The week that was…

    • http://aboutmyrecovery.com Noemi

      imagine that, your 1 to 2k goes a long long way. I don’t own any ukay clothing because I can’t seem to find my XL size. teehee.

      • Xtina

        I’m an XL to an XXL, depending on brand and style (size 14-16 at Dorothy Perkins) and yet 90% of all my clothes come from ukay stores. How come you can’t find any?

  • http://www.meowbykate.blogspot.com kate

    your daughter looks so pretty in the pink dress :) i love ukay ukay too but too bad there aren’t any that i know of here in SG. We have salvation army though, but i haven’t gone yet :)

    kates last blog post..I love curry puff!

    • http://aboutmyrecovery.com Noemi

      I like that vintage 1950′s style myself. I think Salvation army might have too.

  • SEL

    Hi Ma’am! there are lots of XLs in Ukay ukay stores as they are imported so typically the sizes are bigger. I’m an XL and fortunately found a lot of nice tops in different ukay ukay shops in the metro (nakatsamba lang po siguro =)…I’m surprised to know Ukay Manila is your daughter’s website, I find it so interesting…you’re absolutely right, at this time of crisis it’s not practical to spend 800 pesos or more for a single blouse..stylish din naman po karamihan ang mga damit sa ukay ukay…so long as one’s matyaga sa pagpili kasi most of the stores are really mainit and it’s hard to browse through the hangers kasi minsan siksik na siksik di na po makita yung mga style… i think there are a few ebay sellers who post used clothings for bid at relatively higher prices when in fact baka dito din galing sa mga thrift shops ni re sell lang through ebay and they call it preloved…interesting post po..salamat =)

    • http://aboutmyrecovery.com Noemi

      I need to check those XL sizes. tamad lang ako. I am not as patient as Lauren. You bet those ebay sellers are probably recycling ukay clothes. At least my daughter is honest in saying that it is thrifted.

  • http://jrocas.com.ph jhay

    Nice! My aunt also runs an ukay-ukay store at home. Perhaps Lauren could drop by here and check out what’s on offer, then again maybe not. We’re all the way down south in Cavite. ;)

    But good luck to her venture, it’s the one I’ve heard of.

    jhays last blog post..The Credit Crisis Visualized

    • http://aboutmyrecovery.com Noemi

      Thanks Jhay. Will let her know.

  • Lan

    Hi,
    I think you may have posted a pic of Lauren wearing an ebay bought dress, not an ukay-ukay find.
    I like your blog. I’ve been reading Lauren’s blog for a while now and clicked on the link to yours. My aunt has a store in the PI. I don’t think it’s considered ukay-ukay, but she sells clothes that we send her from the U.S. (so maybe it is ukay-ukay?)
    I, myself, hate shopping so ukay-ukay’s are NOT for me. I need to get what I need and go.
    Thanks for all the interesting posts.

    • http://aboutmyrecovery.com Noemi

      It is vintage dress which she posted in her ukay blog. I think she doesn’t just write on ukay finds but on used clothing sourced from ebay, garage sales etc. Most of it are ukay finds though.

      ukay-ukay is like “branded” for used clothing so yes, maybe your aunt’s business is ukay-ukay.

      Thanks for visiting.

  • http://mysoulfulthoughts.blogspot.com/ Rach (Heart of Rachel)

    Lauren has a wonderful site. I haven’t tried going to the famous baguio ukay ukay shops. I would love to check it out next time I go there.

    Rach (Heart of Rachel)s last blog post..Getting a Tattoo

  • http://maccomplainer.com BrianB

    Just checked the site. Already higher PR than this blog.

    A little stunned by how cheap that condo is. Only 15k a month for 40sqm? I remember when I tried shopping for pre-built last year, a 32 sqm is something like 20k with 50% down. I thought too pricey when condos twice the size near greenbelt was cheaper 7 years ago.

  • http://gohunt.ph/ Buy and Sell Philippines

    Hi Noemi! I’m just wondering if ukay-ukay clothes from Bambang Santa Cruz Manila came from Baguio? Ukay-ukay has been the official clothing store for every filipino’s looking for imported brands. My friend started his own ukay-ukay store somewhere in Grace Park, Caloocan and he got a supplier who has a Ukay-Ukay in bambang. He has a nice nice collections of new era caps like yankees, DC and Cardinals. Ukay-ukay can help those tight pockets save more money. Like me!

  • Pingback: Ukay- ukay is a unique shopping experience for Filipinos « loQal – Home and Living | Philippines

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_M2X6QYJIFF754YQV7IADDYSNTI Burnt Raisin

    Hi. You’ve an adorable family. And we share a common passion, heheh.. Ukay-ukay! Mom was a single parent and there’s six of us daughters to raise. I remember her buying us thrift clothes from way back when I was a kid. She had an impeccable taste in clothing so nobody knew we mostly wore second hand clothes. We’re all grown up now but still share mom’s passion and sensibility in buying clothes (and also bags) from thrift stores. Oh I am soo tempted to make a living out of this too. In fact, I did start a”tiny” venture by selling good finds to closest friends. Couldn’t say business is doing well already since I hate parting with most of my best finds. Hahah! Thank you for your wonderful posts. A newbie blogger like me is soo enjoying reading the likes of you..

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_M2X6QYJIFF754YQV7IADDYSNTI Burnt Raisin

    Hi. You’ve an adorable family. And we share a common passion, heheh.. Ukay-ukay! Mom was a single parent and there’s six of us daughters to raise. I remember her buying us thrift clothes from way back when I was a kid. She had an impeccable taste in clothing so nobody knew we mostly wore second hand clothes. We’re all grown up now but still share mom’s passion and sensibility in buying clothes (and also bags) from thrift stores. Oh I am soo tempted to make a living out of this too. In fact, I did start a”tiny” venture by selling good finds to closest friends. Couldn’t say business is doing well already since I hate parting with most of my best finds. Hahah! Thank you for your wonderful posts. A newbie blogger like me is soo enjoying reading the likes of you..

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