Thursday, June 7, 2012

Uniqlo in Japan

Uniqlo. It's become a phenomenon. And it's coming to the Philippines in less than a week.

Uniqlo has become a household name in Japan. Its basic tees, jeans and inner wear has defined comfort, affordability and wearability of clothes no matter what age group you belong. It's a company that appeals to the sensibilities and culture of a very traditional people. It's the company the call "The GAP of JAPAN".

(Pictures from the Uniqlo Website. No copyright infringement intended.)

One of the many attractive points of Uniqlo is its mens wear. It has a vast collection of mens wear available in its stores, a very hard to find quality when browsing through Japan's malls. Of course there are the usual stores like Gap, Lacoste, Comme Ca Ism, but they can't beat it's affordability and wearability. There are also Dry-fit, UV Cut sports clothes and roomwear for men.

Just like Levi's is known for their Perfect Jeans, one of Uniqlo's main selling products is its jeans. There is a variety of color and design for both genders. They also offer a tailoring service for all their pants varieties. When you try the jeans on, you can call on the attendants to pin down to the specific length you prefer and they'll re-do the hem for free.

In the summer  months, fireworks and festivals are a must-see and the staple attire is the yukata, or summer kimono. Uniqlo offers a variety of yukatas with matching obi. The use traditional patterns and colors, ranging from the plum flowers on cream to red cherry blossoms on black.  The obi designs also uses traditional lines, patterns or block colors. When summer nears its end in September, these go on sale.

In the winter months, heat induction inner wear, tees and pants are available. You can mix and match them with insulated jackets and leggings. You can see the quality of cloth by its thickness and texture. You can purchase all the basic clothes in summer colors too.

Lately, Uniqlo has also been creating UT shirts that fit every person's interest. Be it Marvel, Snoopy, Disney, Barbie, Metal Gear, Laura Ashley... name it and you can probably find it here. They're bringing statement shirts and printed cartoons back. It's may seem commercialized but it makes a huge statement in declaring itself as the best casual brand for just about anyone.

Whatever the season or hype, the bottom line of Uniqlo has always been Comfort and Affodability. You can eat in them, you can sleep in them, you can hike Mt Fuji in them and they will always, always feel comfortable. The price will speak for itself. I have pieces that's been with me for five years and I still wear them because they feel wonderful, no better investment in clothes than that.

The thing I love and will always remember about Uniqlo is its sales. It has sales almost every week in one of its branches, just be persevering enough and you'll find gems. In crowded areas like Shinjuku in Tokyo, Uniqlo stores are a few hundred kilometers away from each other but you can be sure to find sales items that would've been at full price or sold out in other stores. We must always practice vigilance when shopping!

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