Uniqlo aims to be Singapore’s ‘national uniform’

SINGAPORE – Fashion retailer Uniqlo appears to be stepping into its role as the Singaporean man’s default wardrobe and has launched a Singapore-exclusive color palette for its The light Airism finishes what is being called the “SG uniform”.

Singapore’s three new exclusive colors for its oversized half-sleeve shirts (orange, red and dark green) were available in stores and online from June 10. The sign above them read: “The SG uniform.”

This isn’t the first time Uniqlo has launched a Singapore-centric collection. In March, it partnered with the National Library Board to release exclusive T-shirt designs inspired by Singaporean literature.

With 31 stores islandwide, Singapore is the market with the highest density of Uniqlo stores per capita outside of Japan, surpassing other markets such as Hong Kong and Taiwan.

There is about one Uniqlo store for every 180,000 people in Singapore, compared with one for every 155,000 people in Japan and one for every 220,000 people in Hong Kong.

Uniqlo’s popularity, particularly among Singapore’s youth, has sparked a wave of memes and online commentary about “The SG Uniform.”

TikTok videos poking fun at Uniqlo’s ubiquity have racked up hundreds of thousands of views. A viral video by user Sherrgoh, titled “Singapore boys buying their uniform in new colours,” has garnered more than 1.6 million views and shows a man picking different shades of the same Uniqlo shirt off the rack.

When asked about the stereotype, Mr Samuel Tan, a 37-year-old human resources consultant, defends the brand’s dominance in Singapore men’s fashion.

“Social media perpetuates the idea that Singaporean men’s Uniqlo uniform is anything but desirable. But is it really? What’s wrong with a wardrobe selection criteria of well-made basics that can stand the test of time?”

“I love that it says Singapore uniform,” says Tan, referring to the new Singapore-exclusive colours for the Airism jersey. “Though they look like colours from the past. And yes, I have 10 of those, so I know.”

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