Around 3 years. This blog has been in the works for around three years, but I just never got around to starting it. If writing is my passion (which up until now I can’t seem to fully decide on), then clothes would be my mistress.
I fell in love with clothes when I started losing the baby fat when I started working, though at that age you can hardly call it baby fat. A blissful glow would always engulf me when I find the perfect jeans at HerBench or that LBD at SM Surplus shop. Though I was earning enough for a splurge or two every payday, it would pinch my wallet for a Dorothy Perkins shirt or even just a pair of Mark and Spencer lingerie when I get the craving to buy them.
So came my love for Vintage Clothes. Why not call it thrift clothes shopping or the lingo ukay-ukay for that matter? Because Vintage, according to the Merriam-Webster, is an adjective that means of old, recognized, and enduring interest, importance, or quality. Therefore, there is a careful selection, a certain art, and a knowledge of sewing quality, textiles and brands in what I do.
But mind you, though look for clothes with Vintage written all over them, I still have a few requisites that I follow when buying from, let’s face it, an ukay-ukay.
1) It has to be dirt cheap. When I say dirt cheap, I mean it to the extreme level. On the average, I go for 5 for 100, sometimes 3 for P100, rarely for the P50 each. I also have my own favorite ukay shop in my hometown San Jose del Monte where clothes coming from the US is priced at around P5 or even as low as 3 for P10. Afterall, an item is never considered a steal unless the price feels like you could have gotten it for free.
2) Know your brands. I could not stress this any stronger. Research on the top or highly regarded designers from the United States, Britain, Japan, and Korea. More often than not, the clothes sold at ukay-ukay came from these places. It’s best if you are ahead of research because sometimes the owners don’t classify items as “branded” unless it’s a popular brand in the Philippines.
Things to look out for:
- Isaac Mizrahi (I got a golden sheen skirt for P20)
- Diane Von Furstenberg (saw a dirty but salvageable floral vest for P10 at an Ukay in Buendia)
- Celine Paris (got a caramel leather purse almost brand new for P50)
- Jim Thompson (popular bag maker in Thailand with its stand-out Elephant prints in bags)
- Katharine Hamnett (an eco-friendly brand in UK; I have a coin purse bought for P30)
- Agnes B (can be seen a plenty in any Ukay Shops but valued so cheap)
- Le Sport Sac (same with Agnes B)
- George (of UK; a relative sent me a dress and I saw the brand in my fave Ukay Shop)
- Issey Miyake
These brands I usually see classified as non-branded.
3) But brands are just brands. There is good stuff out there that is worth scrutinizing—and buying. Just look at quality of sewing, the material it was made of, and the newness of item.
4) Be careful of stains. Some stains come out, but most of them don’t. Also check the over-all look of the material. If the t-shirt looks worn, or a blouse is fraying on the sides, it’s not worth the buy even if it’s only P 20.
5) Know your style. Buying Vintage Clothing from any Ukay Shop is the best way to check the style which fits you best because it comes from various fashion influences. Ask your local Vintage Shop where does the items come from. Usually, Vintage Shops in the Philippines get second-hand items from Japan, HongKong, Korea, US and UK. Know their fashion ins and be sure to see them in Vintage Shops within three months or so.
Again, retail therapy need not be expensive but should cure you from the longing of quality shopping. So now, go forth and multiply that wardrobe. See in the next 3 for P100 sale!