The Only Way Is Up

Your favourite winter wear brand will be more expensive. Uniqlo has announced in Tokyo that prices for their popular fleece jackets will be raised this year

If any brand has the muscle to brave higher material and production costs, it would be Uniqlo. But, the Japanese label has announced in Tokyo last week that prices of some of their products will without doubt go up during the autumn/winter season (after August, as the speculation goes. Uniqlo has not announced specific dates). According to Yomiuri Shimbun, the Japanese brand has pointed to “rising raw material prices such as clothing materials and distribution cost” that led to Uniqlo’s decision to raise prices. Clothing, like food, cannot escape inflationary pressures, and so brands succumb. Uniqlo is reported to be generally increasing prices by ¥1,000 (about S$10.30). Their popular ‘Ultra Light Down Jacket’ will be adjusted to ¥6,900 from ¥5,900 and the ‘Cashmere Crew Neck Sweater’ will go from ¥8,990 to ¥9,990. Their best-selling Heattech line, similarly, would not be spared the price hike, with the long-sleeved, extra-warm version soon retailing at ¥1,990, or ¥490 more than last year’s price of ¥1,500.

For Singaporeans, the increase is likely to be considered small, even negligible. The present urge (some even call it desperation) to travel is unlikely to abate, come the cooler and colder months of Q3 and Q4. We do not have concrete figures (Uniqlo does not reveal sale figures of individual items), but it is not immoderate to say that Uniqlo has single-handedly conquered the market for winter wear in much of Southeast Asia. When a puffer is needed, for example, the first stop is likely the home of the ‘Ultra Light Down Jacket’. We have seen in Hokkaido entire families, whether from Bangkok or Bandung, completely bundled in Uniqlo warm-weather wear, including scarves and gloves. Price increase in protective clothing, just as in air fare, will unlikely deter those bent on experiencing significant temperature drop. The travel bug, as we know, is often more prevalent than any other.

File photo: Zhao Xiangji for SOTD

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