The best of ‘ukay’ gone digital
For anyone who considers thrift shopping a pastime, there’s no taking away the thrill of unearthing a rare find. It’s a gamechanger to realize that “secondhand,” “quality” and “cheap” belong in the same sentence––if you know where to shop, that is.
Recently, our search has led us, long-time ukay enthusiasts, to social media where we’ve been observing the rise of the Instagram thrift shop for some time now. Minus having to forage through the congested streets of Manila or sift through racks of dusty resold goods, this version of ukay shopping makes the thrifting experience accessible and less hectic. It also cuts straight to a curated roundup of clothing, home décor, accessories and vintage finds for your shopping pleasure.
That said, it’s time to acknowledge certain trade-offs: what you save in time (from minutes of commuting or hours rummaging through piles of merchandise yourself) and money (on gasoline, parking or heavy-duty laundry) is made up for by a slight bump up in prices. If last year’s online thrift store drama is any indication, this is something now mildly abused by some Instagram thrift store owners. (Quick catch-up: several ukay accounts, bless their owners’ capitalist souls, were found to have been reselling generic Shopee-bought items with a shameless 500% markup.) Even so, we continue to rally behind buying less but better, buying slower and buying secondhand. And now that the dust from all that Instagram drama has settled, a timely recalibration: which Instagram thrift accounts to shop, trust and put your money on?
The brainchild of stylist Sam Potenciano, Souvenir is a treasure trove of vintage jewelry collected during her travels. Featuring stackable cocktail rings found in Japan one moment, clip-on earrings from Le Marché Dauphine the next, the way to shop Souvenir’s dazzling feed is to slide into the brand’s DMs.
Take note: the one-of-a-kind pieces sold here are never available for long, so it’s best to hit follow and switch on notifications for a better chance at getting first dibs.
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A neat color-coordinated feed, a penchant for Comme des Garçons and a nice balance between streetwear and vintage designer: if we could say so ourselves, these are the trademark elements of Wildflower Finds, an online store that hardly feels like home to thrifted items. Enjoy fast-fashion prices without the guilt and designer pieces without the designer price tag.
Shopping Wildflower Finds is as easy as commenting “dibs!” sending your details within the two-day reservation period and paying through bank transfer.
Though physical thrift stores dedicate entire walls dedicated to jackets, cardigans, blazers and coats, it’s not out of the ordinary to encounter more misses than you do hits. And in cutting the process down for you, Ukay God also manages to round up hard-to-find designs and outerwear in stunning colorways.
When it comes to thrifted outerwear, Ukay God keeps it simple. You get straightforward product information and full disclosure on defects, if any (and that aren’t beyond repair anyway), right off the bat. Jackets start at ?500 apiece––but never go for more than ?700.
Bubblegum is a glorious hodgepodge of all things ‘80s, ‘90s and early 2000s. (We assume cropped top fanatics will find it difficult to exit this page without placing an order.)
Judging by its bubblegum-bright feed and thoughtfully curated flat lays, items here are the closest to retail-ready quality as far as Instagram thrift shops go. Granted that Bubblegum!!! also offers authentic branded pieces on occasion (Versace, Acne Studios and Tommy Hilfiger are just some brands to make a cameo), its prices, overall, compete with fast fashion brands like H&M and Forever 21.
On @helloimukay, freelance writer and store founder Pola Beronilla puts her sense of humor on full display by offering “preloved and slightly worn out…just like ur heart” (which, by the look of things, seem to have great potential). Here, you’ll find everything from vintage t-shirts, mint condition branded track pants, utilitarian vests, bucket hats and windbreakers.
Comment “mine” on the items you’d like to buy or “next” on the currently reserved pieces you want a shot at getting next.
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Art Alexandra Lara