Lured in by the buzz and bedazzling LED screens, Annabelle Mallia scoped out the styles at UNIQLO.
Mix up your individual style with basics from UNIQLO.
Six larger-than-life plasticine pom-pom dolls greeted me in true Japanese fashion as I entered the UNIQLO store. The dolls may be a temporary exhibition, but what’s clear is that the Wilmersdorf outpost, which opened its doors about a year ago, is now firmly entrenched in the city's shopping scene. Originally a chain of roadside stores in suburban Japan, the UNIQLO brand quickly became an Asian sensation and has since expanded to trendy urban hubs around the globe, from Tokyo’s Harajuku district to New York’s Soho – and now Berlin, where its flagship store covers three illuminated floors. The brand's concept is simple: quality basics in a range of block colors and stripes that make universal pieces for women, men, and children.
Helping to secure success was the decision to establish what UNIQLO refers to as a SPA model (Specialty store retailer of Private label Apparel), which means that rather than outsourcing production steps – from design and purchasing of materials to production and sales – the brand handles the entire clothes-making process. This allows them to negotiate directly with suppliers, thus keeping costs – and, in turn, prices – down: T-shirts are sold from €5.90, jeans from €39.90, and a luxurious cashmere sweater, for which you'd normally drop a couple of hundred euros, will set you back only €80.
The SPA model also allows UNIQLO to make quick production adjustments based on the latest trends and customer feedback, resulting in a product as stylish as it is well-fitting. To ensure consistency, a team of skilled artisans boasting years of experience in the Japanese textile industry is deployed to factories worldwide to offer technical instructions and guidance on quality control – all the more reason to mix up your individual style with some UNIQLO basics.
Tauentzienstr. 7B/C, www.uniqlo.com
"UNIQLO has expanded to trendy urban hubs
around the globe."