There’s a reason we keep writing about Uniqlo, the fast-fashion retailer out of Japan that is slowly taking over the way the world looks at fashion, one quality, reasonably priced, no-logoed piece at a time. While some are slow to pick on the Fast Retailing Company’s formula for success in the United States, let us once again state that this is a brand/retailer to watch.
One reason outside the fact that Uniqlo tends to have a great selection of fresh designs, quality, and affordable prices (not to mention the highly successful collaboration with Jil Sander), is that they successfully combine fashion and retail with technology via online, mcommerce, DIY advert widgets, and through fabrics. First there was UniQlock, which in itself was oddly addictive, then the Uniqlo Tokyo Map that would get you watching one fashionista to another in the coolest backstreet districts of Tokyo, then the UT Loop widget from which you could create your own T-shirt ad campaign. But now, with the launch of their winter campaign HeatTech, they’ve added a very cool musical component that’s like a mini-movie fashion show which one can modify with their own MP3 tunes called Uniqlo Tunes. Check it out here to get a sense of how it looks and sounds: http://www.uniqlo.com/utunes/
In addition, Uniqlo is launching more online stores, now in France and the U.S., which combined with their online networks in Japan, the U.K., South Korea, and China, will give Uniqlo, especially their HeatTech, line a serious boost.
Which brings us to HeatTech. The Japanese technology behind this collection is based in the fabrics and how they’re designed. They provide enough heat to the wearer without one having to “bulk-up” with an excessive amount of layering. It also has moisture-wicking properties so you don’t sweat. It’s a technical fabric made into fashionable apparel, which has moved it from the category of “innerwear” to outerwear. It’s the kind of collection that the outdoor industry should take a note of overall.
HeatTech isn’t completely new in Japan, but it is in other areas of the world, including the USA and France -and via their new online stores in these countries. Now that pieces come in the usual range of 23 Crayola-box colors, and 37 different design pieces for men and women, HeatTech apparel is a modern, no-logo-ed, fashion statement that’s both stylish and functional.
Here’s what Uniqlo has to say about it: “In 2009, we will be looking to use HEATTECH to transform winter from a cold, heavy clothes season to a warm, lightweight dressed season. We have now complemented HEATTECH’s original heat-generating and comfort functionalities with a design and color range so rich as to transform the range from innerwear to fashion item. This winter we will be preparing 50 million HEATTECH items for sale. Our aim is to offer the forefront Japan technology wear to customers around the world, transforming what we wear in winter, and making HEATECH into the pronoun for winter worldwide.”
A clothing brand/retailer striving to become a seasonal pronoun? Now that’s something you don’t hear everyday.