Finally, a Uniqlo store opens in northern Metro Manila! I had been waiting since summer for this.
My first encounter with Uniqlo was about two years ago when I was in New York City, sightseeing in the SoHo area with my sister. She pointed out to me a Japanese clothing store. With Japanese brands having this reputation of being expensive, and the store being located in trendy SoHo, I dismissed the brand as something I wouldn’t like and afford anyway so I didn’t even try to get in that store.
Fast forward to early this year, and reports surface that the SM group will be opening a Uniqlo store at the Mall of Asia. Then, in a trip to Taipei in May this year also, the hotel that my Mom and I stayed in was near a building where there was a Uniqlo store in the basement. It was a huge store, and I was happy to discover that the merchandise consisted of basic casuals. The stuff there reminded me of Giordano. My kind of style and fit. I resisted the urge to buy right then and there knowing that a Manila store would be opening soon.
And so the first Uniqlo store opened at the Mall of Asia and I read all about in Chuvaness.com. I had planned and planned to go but never got around to doing it because MOA is very far from where I live. I had no reason to go to MOA until the Philippine Fashion Week in October. I visited the store before watching the show for the day. By then the clothes on display were mostly for fall/winter. I just surveyed the store and looked at some items to know what to expect when Uniqlo opens at SM North EDSA.
The newest Uniqlo branch, located at The Block, SM North EDSA opened on a Friday, Nov 16. I was at the mall around 11am and had definite plans of buying some winter stuff, but got overwhelmed by the very long line of people waiting to get in, and the many people who were already inside. I returned in the evening, and the same sight greeted me.
It ‘s a good thing that the opening sale was good for a week after the opening date. Returning on a Monday, there were no lines outside anymore. Inside, I quickly got some items- a long and short jacket, a Heattech shirt, leggings and socks. I could see a long line at the fitting rooms area, but the line moved fast. Uniqlo had extra fitting rooms installed to accommodate the rush of opening week shoppers. I got in one of those temporary stalls. There were many cashiers, so the check out line moved fast too. The store staff were helpful, friendly and knowledgeable. Shopping was a breeze for me because I had known what to get from the newspaper inserts that the company distributed prior to the opening.
Too bad that most of the merchandise were items not suited for Manila weather. Uniqlo went overboard with winter stuff. Hello, not a lot of Pinoys will be going to the upper northern hemisphere or even Baguio or Sagada. I doubt if people wear that kind of stuff in Baguio. Baguio folks wear vintage chic (read: ukay-ukay) in the cold months. I would have bought a lot more if there were more of the stuff I previously saw in Taipei like blouses and shirts. The t-shirt designs here were limited too. And the pants sizes were for the sexy misses. Or maybe the great items were already sold out on the first three days?!
With two bags in tow, it seems that I bought a lot. But those are just a few pieces, including two jackets. One for me, one for Mom. With the opening week sale, I had saved around P1,000! I’ll be using my Uniqlo winter stuff when I spend the Christmas season in New York City. Mom will probably use her jacket when she goes to Baguio maybe next year.
For people like me who need some winter wear, Uniqlo is an affordable and welcome alternative to European brand MS. And if the Taipei merchandise are any indication, I would be buying a lot of stuff when the spring/summer collection arrives.