Style & Fashion

Cheat Sheet: Let Marie Lozano Tell You All There Is To Know About Ukay Shopping

Cheat Sheet: Let Marie Lozano Tell You All There Is To Know About Ukay Shopping

Marie Lozano is not just the pretty entertainment journalist you see on TV Patrol.  She’s also a fashionista in her own right! 


See the line where the sky meets the sea? It calls me And no one knows How far it goes ?? & caption by @lujeanong

A post shared by Marie Lozano (@iammarielozano) on

Pak! Ganern! 

And she loves a good deal as much as the rest of us.

Over the summer, Marie roamed around Divisoria to see if she could find swimwear for just Php 100.

And last month, she set off to Anonas with her cameramen and fashion blogger Yuki Tansengco to create head-to-toe looks for half that amount!   

Bargain shopping with that small a budget may seem impossible at first.  For some, the mere thought of stepping inside an ukay-ukay (thrift store) may not be appealing at all.  But none of those things stopped the reporter from trying to (and succeeding in) doing it.  We decided to ask her more about her take on ukay-ukays, as well as advice that would make shopping at them less intimidating—especially for first-timers. 

[related: In Focus: No To Being Manangs! Here Are Celeb Mommas Rocking #Summer2017 In Style]

How would you describe ukay-ukays?

"I consider them as a place for treasure hunts.  They’re very hot and challenging, but it’s where you can find fashion treasures."  

Why do you think ukay shopping is so popular among Filipinos?

"Since I work in Patrol, it’s something I realized is popular. It’s something that you can afford, and for most people, it’s the only thing they can afford. It gives them a place where they can explore. Fashion is about creativity, so putting together an outfit is a fun experience. I got tweets on social media asking,“Why are you promoting ukay-ukays? They degrade Filipino culture because [it’s like] picking out trash of other countries.” I didn’t respond na, but I don’t look at it that way. Why would you spend more money [on fashion] when you don’t have money for food? I’m catering to an audience with no budget for anything but necessities. Consider the general population—there are still those that don’t have a lot. It’s more expensive to buy something new. [Ukays] are more sustainable. You’re not using a lot of energy to make fabric, to make clothes, or to bring them to a factory.  It’s actually recycling."

[related: The Six Fix: Sweldo Hacks From Savvy Savers]

What should you wear when going to an ukay-ukay? 

"I learned this from an ukay expert that I brought with me: Bring clothes that you can pile on. If you can, wear shorts or leggings or just a tank. [Ukays] are not air-conditioned so wear clothes that are presko. And make sure to tie your hair up."

How about tips for browsing?

"Set a goal or a peg…say, denim jackets. It can get overwhelming walking to a store. For one of our challenges, we went to about a thousand clothes! Just look for a certain piece so it’s easier to find."

Are there any misconceptions you’d like to debunk when it comes to ukay shopping?

I haven’t gotten sick yet. But more than that, it’s the negative connotation that [the stuff] comes from Salvation Army. I can’t prove this and I don’t know it for a fact, but that’s what they say. [Others] have been warned before to wash the clothes several times. Bleach if you can.  Just basic hygiene, sanitation.  

You recently shopped at Divisoria and Anonas. What are other places in the Metro you’d recommend?

"There’s Quiapo and Makati. Baguio would be a good challenge, even if it’s hot, ‘cause it’s cooler."

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