Brands to Know: Uniqlo (Unique Clothing)
Uniqlo is arguably the best clothing brand for basics on the market right now. It tends to be grouped together with fast fashion brands such as Zara, H&M and Forever 21 but Uniqlo occupies a completely different niche. The defining features of fast fashion are not its quality or even its affordability, it is the rate that the brand pumps out new designs to stay on top of trends. As a business model, this works very well and attracts the majority of the population who do not look too closely into what they are wearing.
Uniqlo is completely different.
Uniqlo puts out new designs seasonally and provides products that are extremely affordable, made with high-quality material and work with any wardrobe. They do not buy into trends (overly distressed denim, oversized flannels, overly distressed everything, zipper pants to name a few recent ones that others, like H&M, have taken advantage of us) and are always consistent with their Japanese minimalist theme. Rather than changing styles, Uniqlo regularly adds new technologies to their clothes. Some of the most popular ones are the Heattech, Ultra Light Down and Easy Care Shirts. Most fast fashion brands sacrifice quality when trying to put out new designs all the time. Instead, in the battle between quality and quantity, Uniqlo picked quality. This is not to say that they do not have a variety of clothing. Uniqlo offers everything from jeans to t-shirts to peacoats. Nearly none of their clothes are branded but they do put out collaborations regularly. Some of the most notable ones were Uniqlo x KAWS, Uniqlo x J.W. Anderson, Uniqlo x Lemaire and the UT artist collaborations.
I buy nearly all of my blank T-Shirts from Uniqlo, specifically, the Supima® Cotton Crewneck T-Shirts which are spun from U.S. grown Pima cotton. This cotton gives the T-Shirt an amazing silky and soft texture (very different from Hanes, Fruit of the Loom, Champion etc.). A similar T-Shirt from competing brands would run you about $30 while Uniqlo offers it for only $9.90. Not only is Uniqlo already ultra-affordable, they regularly have sales. The denim jacket pictured was marked down from $39.90 to $19.90.