Strictly For Winter

Images of the Uniqlo X White Mountaineering are released. There is nothing we can buy to wear on our gloriously sunny island

Just as we suspected, the collaboration that we have been looking forward to will give us very little reason to buy. And just as designer Yosuke Aizawa of White Mountaineering earlier revealed about his collab with Uniqlo, it’s really about outerwear, and just that. In fact, it’s a surprisingly small capsule—tiny. Just two items for women, four for men, and three for kids. Every piece is designed to protect from the wearer from the cold, i.e. winter, not cinema hall air-conditioning. The one jacket, for example, a parka, (available for women, men, and kids) is padded with “absorbent bio-warming” material. The thought of it in this mid-September heat is enough to make people sweat. There are six pockets on the jacket and two of them serve as hand warmers. Unless you work in an ice plant or even the meatpacking department of Cold Storage, you very probably wouldn’t need the jacket here.

It is surprising that Uniqlo did not consider expanding the product offerings. Or, to include tops such as shirts and T-shirts (we do not consider fleece pullovers the equivalent). This is more so considering that the brand has a huge presence in Southeast Asia, where, for the most part, winter clothing is not required. Although White Mountaineering is the go-to brand in Japan for outerwear or, in the case with Uniqlo, those “created with a common language (easy to understand?)”, Mr Aizawa does design compelling items that are not outers. Sure, Uniqlo produces all the U tees, as well as the UT tops that will feed the world’s appetite for those items of clothing, but if they had allowed White Mountaineering to express their own ideas of what, to them, are truly basic, the result might be irresistible and crowd-pullers too.

Rather, we can only look at the items that do not have a real place in our daily wardrobe. Fleece and down, for most people here, are those kept aside in unemployed language until the time arrives for their use: travel! And there is usually inadequate reasons to buy more. It is therefore curious that Uniqlo bothers to avail the collab here when their own winter outerwear would suffice for the few people who’d be travelling. Perhaps representation is necessary for Uniqlo’s merchandising, but as one sportswear buyer told us, “It’d really be a bummer not to be able to buy so that we can wear the items soon. It is doubtful that many people will be holidaying soon enough or that 95% of Singaporeans will travel abroad for leisure (2013 and 2014)”. It appears that, for those whose resistance is low, buy now, wear much later would be the order. That sole jacket we mentioned is S$149.90 for women, S$199.90 for men, and S$99.90 for kids. It may be good to invest in, considering that a similar piece from White Mountaineering would set you back ¥60,500 or approximately S$742.

Although the nine-piece collection (different colours for all styles) look rather similar to some of Uniqlo’s own winter wear, it is in the unexpected details that set them apart (even when only the wearer knows), such as the vertical pocket opening along the placket of the men’s oversized quilted down jacket. As Yosuke Aizawa said in a promotional interview, “Sport and outdoor details can be used effectively in our daily life, such as going to a park or taking a walk. These are not just cool as a fashion, but also by combining various elements of functionality for movements, outdoor details, texture and heat retention effect, I presume I was able to feed back the technology and knowledge that I had gained through outdoor wear into Uniqlo.” Let’s see if resistance would be futile.

Uniqlo X White Mountaineering will launch in mid-October. Exact date not revealed. Photos: Uniqlo

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