Secondhand clothes are cool again.
A survey of 1,000 shoppers from Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines revealed that 62 percent admitted they have shopped for secondhand fashion, and of this number, 28 percent confessed this made them cut back on buying brand new clothes.
The survey, conducted by Singapore-based Milieu Insight in May, found that thrifting or shopping for used clothes is especially common among Pinoy shoppers. More than 8 in 10 (or 83 percent) said they have done it.
Sentiments towards pre-loved items are overall neutral (48 percent), with Filipinos topping the list of “love it” (56 percent) and no surprise, ranking last when it comes to “hate it” (4 percent).
If you’ve never tried it, it’s never too late to discover the joys of shopping at ukay-ukay stores. A quick Google check can tell you the ukay-ukay stores near you, even the rating and reviews of shoppers. Before you go second-hand shopping, here are some useful tips to make the most out of your thrifting.
#1 No Ukay-Ukay stores are the same
This is where online reviews or even better, referrals from friends, are helpful. It’s important to have an idea of what items the stores carry. Some are focused on clothing, some offer more curated selection of branded items, others only have small appliance or pre-loved furniture. But if you just want to browse and see if there are any good finds, then feel free to visit as many ukay-ukay stores as you can.
#2 Dress the part
As the name implies, ukay-ukay is about digging through piles of used or pre-loved items until you find the “treasure”, or that at one which for you is a good find. It’s best to dress comfortably and not assume that you will be shopping in air-conditioned comfort. If you will be shopping for clothes, do not dress in bulky clothes or layers, so you can just put on the items over what you are wearing for a quick check on fit.
#3 Ask around if haggling is okay
Some ukay-ukays allow you to negotiate on prices, or ask for a discount when they have tallied the total of all the items you want to buy. Others strictly follow the price on their tags. By knowing, you can decide if you have found a good bargain or not. Most shoppers will prefer the former, but sometimes they have adjusted their prices expecting shoppers to haggle so you may actually get a better deal with the latter.
#4 Shop with a friend and a flashlight
It’s rare to find a pre-loved item in excellent condition. Some have wears and tears and you need to know them before buying. Bring a friend so you two can go over the items and make sure all flaws were discovered. A flashlight or a pen light is also a good idea, in case lighting inside the store isn’t too great. Even if you are buying a secondhand item, it’s important to know exactly what you are and are not getting, even those missing buttons or faulty zippers.
#5 Learn from the experts
YouTube really delivered for me here – there are so many thrifters that have uploaded videos sharing their secrets in finding bargains in pre-loved stores. As with anything, do your homework so you will be better prepared and save even more money. One of the best advice I have come across is to have a list. This way, you don’t end up coming home with many bargains yes, but not really what you were looking for, nor need.
#6 Paying with cash or virtual cash
One of the hassles in ukay-ukay shopping is most of the owners only want to be paid in cash. But that was in the past. Today, many accept payments from almost all kinds of virtual wallets, making it safer for you too. You don’t want to misplace your cash while digging through all those sale bins, or realize you do not have enough cash, so make sure to check with the store before your visit how you can pay for purchases.
#7 What about your own pre-loved items?
One practical rule when it comes to shopping for new things is to also give up items from your closet. And if your old clothes are in good condition, consider selling them too. Maybe that ukay-ukay store you just visited is open to accepting your items on consignment? Or to buy them in bulk? Or how about having a community garage sale? You can also choose to donate in neighborhood non-profits.
Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.