UNIQLO- The True Impact

A sign for Uniqlo is shown on its store, Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2011 in New York. The Japanese retailer is opening a Fifth Avenue flagship store, Friday, Oct. 14. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)


Today it is known as the fastest-selling retail store chain in Asia and continuously climbing in popularity in both Europe and the US.  UNIQLO, however, should be considered much more than that.  Why you ask?  Well if  other retail store chains came to mind such as the GAP, H&M, Forever21, Macy’s, Zara, maybe even Target, you could begin to decipher why the home of “unique clothing or ユニ・クロ” stands out!

Retail stores such as The GAP and Target share something in common which is, “low quality clothing for lower prices.”  Of course, cheaper clothing doesn’t pose as a problem for everyone but another issue is the apparel designs.  Most of the clothing sold at The GAP and Target are considered “not” the most fashionable so for the average consumer, you are forced to choose between style and price.  This is where UNIQLO saves the day…

What began as a Yamaguchi-based, men’s clothing store operator, to a small unisex shop in Hiroshima, to then an urban store opened in Harajuku-Tokyo, to finally becoming the go-to department store overseas, UNIQLO has reached heights that many retail guru’s would admire.

So what makes UNIQLO, unique right?  Here’s the breakdown…

1.The GAP and Target can give you plain t-shirts and pants with solid colors but NOT good quality.  UNIQLO provides these same types of solid-colored t-shirts, pants, jackets, etc. but with “better quality” fabrics as well as special features such as “heat tech” or clothing that is designed to keep you warmer than the average.

2. Collaborations!  H&M has done this with Alexander Wang however with boosts in the prices due to the associated #Wang.  Cleverly, UNIQLO has done this with many different designers and companies, representing far more than the apparel industry, but of art and culture as well!  Check out some of their collaborations below!

  • UNIQLO x H&M
  • UNIQLO x MOMA (includes Jean-Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Jack Pierson, and more.)
  • UNIQLO UT x Nigo (includes the Disney series, the Nirvana series, Star Wars series, etc.)
  • UNIQLO x Designer Invitation Project (includes various designers including Carine Roitfeld, Philip Lim, Jill Sanders, and more.)
  • UNIQLO x Liberty London

3. “Retail Culture”  UNIQLO has a cultural system.  What I mean by this is that I am not constantly being asked “Hey, do you need any help?” at every corner of the store but rather being greeted, in yes, Japanese!  Yukata-wearing (Japanese garment, cotton, worn in the Summer time) individuals greet you and welcome you into what feels like “their home.”

To conclude, UNIQLO has lived up to the word “unique” but should add that they are unique in not just clothing, but in culture.  What other place could attract the artists, the musicians, the poor, the rich, the young, and the old all at once and serve the needs of each?  Definitely NOT The GAP or Target.


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