Female Japanese culture enthusiasts and apparel collectors in Singapore will be pleased to welcome the launch of apparel chain store Uniqlo’s yukata lines come 12th May 2016. The team over at J-Network spent the weekend checking them out at two different Uniqlo outlets in Singapore! What can potential buyers expect from this new Uniqlo offering?
The yukata is a light and airy traditional summer garment with both gender-specific and unisex designs made from cotton. Historically, it was worn as part of the ofuro (bathing) custom in Japan during the Heian Period and was known as yukatabira. Now, it is worn primarily in traditional Japanese-style hotels called ryokan and cultural occasions such as matsuris ranging from summer festivals to the tanabata matsuris. Uniqlo is now bringing this traditional garment to the masses in Singapore through their central-area outlets and online store.
Uniqlo‘s yukata come in three main lines: one for women bearing four original designs from Uniqlo, and another women’s line comprising 4 Ottaipnu yukata designed by fashion designer Masaru Suzuki which all retail at S$79.90 apiece. Finally, a third line of three cute floral designs for young girls that go for S$59.90 apiece will also be available from 14th May onwards.
The women lines will be available from 12th May at the 313@Somerset, Bugis+, ION Orchard, Liang Court, Suntec City and VivoCity branches while the girls’ line will be available starting 14th May.
With summer heating up in tropical Singapore and Uniqlo’s trend of releasing limited-run apparel, interested buyers might want to snag a yukata or two as soon as possible after launch. These pieces also make good wears at Japanese cultural parties and meetups, such as the annual Natsu Matsuri summer festival held at the Japanese Primary School in Changi in August. The sale of these yukata also coincides with the upcoming Super Japan Matsuri which will take place at the Esplanade from 20-22 May.
One of our reporters also made her way down to the Liang Court Uniqlo branch to try on a yukata! While all of the designs are on display folded and packed in neat plastic casings to protect them, one design from the Ottaipnu line and one design from the girls’ line were laid out for customer to try on before they purchase their favorite design. (in the case of the Liang Court outlet – the blue design from the Ottaipnu line, second from left in the image above as well as the pink design from the girls’ line, first from left in the image above – were laid out. Meanwhile at Bugis+, the navy blue design from the Ottaipnu line that is laid out with frogs and lily pads and comes with a purple obi was available for trying on.)
The fabric used for the yukata is 100% cotton, with a somewhat stiff yet very comfortable texture characteristic of yukata. As expected of Uniqlo, the fabric also feels very breathable and cooling. The obi provided – made of 100% polyester – is sturdy but wraps easily around the waist. (it is very long and rather unwieldy though, so we would suggest asking a salesperson to help you with tying it.) Each yukata set comes with the yukata itself, the obi and the elastic cord that can be used to adjust the length of your yukata according to your height. That way, potential buyers will not have to worry about buying each item individually.
Uniqlo is a Japan-originated clothing chain that expanded into Singapore in 2009 with 23 stores islandwide as of September 2015. Apart from the above yukata line, Uniqlo has also launched numerous lines of themed apparel over the years, usually based on popular anime or game franchises such as the pixel art of the Pokemon Red, Blue and Yellow video game series and the adorable characters of My Melody, as well as popular Western animation or comics that are well-received in Japan such as Disney and Calvin and Hobbes. Uniqlo is also best known for adopting various innovative technologies into their HEATTECH and AIRism lines.
To view Uniqlo’s product descriptions of the yukata, visit their product page at this link.
Images © Uniqlo Official Web Store
Photos © Tab and Astrid