Uniqlo has been trending on Twitter for a few days now thanks to two viral tweets that are both equally amusing. The first is a video that captured the University of Sto. Tomas students unintentionally wearing the same Uniqlo Rugger Polo Shirt a.k.a. the Pambansang Polo of 2022. And then there’s also another viral, more serious tweet that has Pinoys debating whether or not Uniqlo is a high-end clothing brand.
The first tweet was all in good fun but it’s the second tweet that has everyone throwing in their two cents. So what’s the Internet’s verdict?
Netizen says Uniqlo is a “higher-end” brand
Maybe it’s the Pambansang Polo tweet that jogged this netizen’s memory about a conversation he had with a Japanese local all those years ago. It was about how Pinoys treated Uniqlo as a “higher-end” brand.
“I remember talking to a Japanese local when Uniqlo came to PH & they’re surprised that it’s treated by many here as higher end,” he said in the viral tweet. “In Japan, they consider it as one of their cheapest go-tos for affordable basic wear -shows the huge gap bet our cost of living + we’re much less developed.”
He even clarified the first tweet: “Some argue [Uniqlo is] not “high-end” + even hastily generalize that “no one” is treating it as “high-end”. Technically, it’s not even a designer or luxury brand, but to someone who can’t afford it, it’s already a higher-end brand. Note the operative word that I used is “higher-end”.
Pinoys react to Uniqlo being called “higher-end”
It seems as if nothing is wrong with the post. After all, there are Pinoys who have to save enough money before they can buy Uniqlo pieces. However, the tweet managed to ruffle a few feathers and spark an online discourse about what’s affordable and what’s not in the Philippines.
“Uniqlo is not high end and no one treats it as such,” said one comment.
“Hmmm. Never thought of Uniqlo as a ‘high-end’ brand TBH. What I love about Uniqlo is affordable pero medyo high-quality ang basic wear nila. Bagay pa sa klima ng Pilipinas. Saka lagi naka sale yung tshirt and shorts nila,” said another.
“I am not aware that Uniqlo is treated as high-end in the Philippines. I bought a few shirts a few years ago and I say, they fit well and the quality is good for the price. The downside is that you are more likely to encounter someone somewhere wearing the exact shirt that you have,” commented yet another.
However, the rest of social media did not agree with these comments. Some even called those who posted as “out of touch with reality.”
Because it’s all relative
Everyone’s standard for high-end is different. It largely depends on how much they earn and what they do for a living. For a person whose standard for affordable coffee is a P12 sachet of instant coffee, then spending P140 every day at Starbucks is preposterous. If their standard for good, quality clothing is ukay-ukay stores at P100 per piece, then a brand new Uniqlo shirt at P590 could already be reaching for the stars.
“Bilang dukha, totoo to,” said one netizen. “High end na sa amin yung ganyang damit kasi all we know na damitan ay Divisoria at Baclaran. Nakikita ko tuloy mga mayayaman na nag-twtweet. FYI ukay din ang go-to bilihan namin ng damit.”
“Daming out of touch sa realidad. Yes, there are Filipinos who perceive these brands such as Uniqlo as “high-end” when majority of the Filipinos belonging esp in the lower class would consider stores inside a mall to be expensive and if makabili sila, as if ang yaman na nila,” said another.
“If you don’t know people here who think Uniqlo is expensive, you grew up in a comfortable bubble and decently well-off. Most of the population who earn minimum wage will never justify buying a shirt worth P500~ that’s already 1-2 days their wage. Mahal na yan sakanila,” added another netizen.
But is this debate worth it?
While folks on Twitter are busy choosing a hill to die on, those on Reddit have their priorities straight.
“What does this debate even accomplish at the end of the day though….” asked one Redditor.
“Seriously who the f*** cares?” asked another. “I remember the same thing happened nung nagsimulang sumikat ang Starbucks dito. Kesyo kape lang daw ng mga taxi drivers yan sa US, bakit daw pangsosyal na kape dito. Bakit kailangan laging may validation ang mga Pinoy?”
“Worthless debate ang pinagtutuunan ng pansin: is Uniqlo high end or not? Sa kabila ng inflation, Maharlika Funds and all? Hay buhay,” commented another.
One netizen perfectly summed up the whole dicsourse: “Eh ano naman? Kanya kanyang perspective yan at iba-iba naman ng income ang mga tao. Ang dami oras para mag-isip ng walang kwentang bagay.”
In conclusion: Get on with your lives, people. If someone can afford quality clothes from Uniqlo, good for them! They not only keep the economy going but they’re out there making themselves happy too.
At the end of the day, Pinoys still love Uniqlo
Whether you think it’s a high-end brand, a higher-end brand, or so affordable you buy one piece a week, it doesn’t change the fact that Pinoys still love Uniqlo. In fact, we as a country have fallen in love with the Japanese brand. No matter the season, even when we’re in the thick of rising inflation, you’ll see a long line of people snaking across Uniqlo stores patiently waiting to pay for their haul. Heck, the Pambansang Polo gag is solid proof.
Uniqlo of Santo Tomas pic.twitter.com/wTyGia9ZqA
— adie (@ADRIANTOLENT1NO) December 21, 2022
And for many, that’s a testament to how Pinoys are willing to shell out cash if they know they get high-quality products in exchange.