SHOP­PING

Lured in by the buzz and bedaz­zling LED screens, Annabelle Mal­lia scoped out the styles at UNIQLO.

Where Berlin - - CONTENTS -

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."

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