Fashioning a Culture through Baguio City’s Ukay-Ukay

Ma. Rina Locsin
Department of Communication, University of the Philippines Baguio, Philippines

Ladda ner artikelhttp://www.ep.liu.se/ecp_article/index.en.aspx?issue=025;article=039

Ingår i: Inter: A European Cultural Studies : Conference in Sweden 11-13 June 2007

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 25:39, s. 371-379

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Publicerad: 2007-11-27


ISSN: 1650-3686 (tryckt), 1650-3740 (online)


The term ukay-ukay is derived from the Filipino hukay; which means to dig up. In Baguio City in the Philippines; ukay-ukay describes the thriving secondhand clothing industry that is slowly shifting the city’s image from tourist capital to castoff clothing hub. Below the surface of this image runs a wide gamut of social; cultural and commercial interactions.

I will explore the complex ukay-ukay phenomenon within the context of Filipino anthropologist Prospero Covar’s Total Environment Framework and attempt to interpret its facets.

My exploration will cover the evolution of the ukay-ukay from the 1980s’ ‘generic street piles’ in the market area to the more upscale ‘selections’ in the city’s business district and on e-bay. I hope to present a coherent portrayal of these and in the process expect to cover the manner in which Baguio City fashion has been democratized and; in a larger sense; how consumers have acquired a global fashion outlook through the trade of goods stuffed in ‘boxes’ from Hong Kong .

In the area of social discourse; I will include the coining of terms that are uniquely applicable to the ukay-ukay trade and the connotations of certain figures of speech. Also of relevance are the roles played by the ukay-ukay proprietor: as castoff fashion expert dictating trends; as facilitator of brand consciousness; as price tag authority. Also of relevance is the proprietor’s ability to distinguish the seasoned local bargain hunter from the ‘amateur’ out-of-town shopper.


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