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No.242 (8/23/13)

UNIQLO/Leading Japanese Fast Fashion Brand

By Chiho Tsukiashi
Staff Writer

Adam Derek Scott, an Australian professional golfer, won the 2013 Masters Tournament; right after UNIQLO became his sponsor. Theri red logo on his polo shirt effectively advertised the company's name all around the world. UNIQLO is the most successful apparel company in Japan, often compared with THE GAP. In this country, everybody, including my parents and my one-year-old son, have clothes from the UNIQLO in his or her closet. The company operates 944 stores worldwide, of which 135 are located in Japan.
UNIQLO has changed Japanese fashion in the last two decades, and not many clothing stores can claim they have customers from all ages. Affordability, high quality, versatility, and stylish designs of UNIQLO's clothing have helped them to stay up-to-date more easily. For example, a T-shirt costs from 1,000 yen to 1,500 yen, a pair of pants from 1990 yen to 2,900 yen. Their quality and designs are obviously much better than other brands' items at the same price range. UNIQLO is where to go if you are short on budget, but still want to be in fashion. Whenever you visit, you can find new items are on sale which may go back to the regular price after a few days. You do not want to splurge on items which you know probably will be out of fashion next year. For example, patterned skimmers, neon color items, maxi dresses, and so on, so you might want to check out at your nearest UNIQLO instead.
Even better news for those who want to save even more money: GU, a brand owned by the same company that operates UNIQLO, opened a store in Aomori last April. GU offers outfits at UNIQLO's at half or even less prices. Their qualities are not as great and not as good as UNIQLO. The store was packed and there was a long line at the cashier when I visited the other day. I purchased a pair of sunglasses at 500 yen, which I wear only when driving; patterned skimmer pants at 990 yen (which will likely be outdated next year) and white skimmer pants at 990 yen, which I don't have to be nervous about getting stains on. They are comfortable to wear, and perfectly updated my wardrobe for this season. GU is located behind UNIQLO in Dream Town Ali, which is across from Ito Yokado (Seven and i.)

SIGNATURE ITEMS
In the beginning of summer, UNIQLO's underwear with high-tech material starts to sell well. It releases body heat and moisture efficiently and even deodorizes. The fabric, named AIRism, is smooth and stretchable - especially ideal for workout. Also, AIRism tanks with built-in-bras are a must-have for women.
UNIQLO T-shirts come in 1,100 colors and designs. Their regular price is 1,500 yen. Designs are corroborated with artists and companies such as Andy Warhal, Keith Haring, Disney, Peanuts, Star Wars, Sanrio, Coca Cola, MTV, Fender, National Geographic, and much more. For foreigners' souvenirs, they sell T-shirts that have Japanese words printed on them.
Suteteko, a pair of Japanese pants traditionally worn as underwear, is recreated as stylish lounge pants by UNIQLO, and is named Relaco. It comes in various colors and fun patterns for 990 yen. It feels dry, light, and loosely fit. You can choose cropped or short length.
Jeans from UNIQLO cost from 2,990 yen to 3,990 yen range. It is said that it would cost over 10,000 yen if a different company tries to make jeans with the same quality. Models, stylists, and fashion magazine editors personally wear UNIQLO jeans.
Fleece jackets are the first signature lineup in UNIQLO's history. It was this company that first spread fleece jackets in the Japanese market. During the cold season, shelves are piled up with these items in beautiful hues. In recent years, people have found heat-tech T-shirts from their brand keep them surprisingly warm in winter. The fabric developed by the company absorbs body moisture, which generates heat. Now you don't have to wear lots of layers.
Another hit item for cold weather is the Premium Dawn Jacket. It is amazingly light and warm. The price is high compared with other UNIQLO clothing, yet once you try it on, you may not mind spending 4,900 yen on it.

SIZING & LINES
UNIQLO sells women, men, children, and babies' clothing and accessories. Japanese sizing is smaller than that of the U.S., so choose large if you usually wear medium. To make sure, try on items before you bring them to the cashier. They have alteration services for pants length for free, if you don't mind stitches are showing. For hidden stitches, 500 yen is charged. They do it right away behind the cashier, after ordering the service in fitting room.

STORE LOCATIONS:

Here are three UNIQLO stores near Misawa:

★UNIQLO Symphony Plaza Hachinohe, Numadate
Opens from 11:00 till 20:00 (weekdays), from 10:00 till 20:00 (weekend) Located right by Pia Do, where Toys"R"Us is

★UNIQLO Dream Town Aomori, Hamada
GU is in the same shopping center
Opens from 10:00 till 21:00
Located across from Ito Yokado (a.k.a. Seven and i)

★UNIQLO Towada
Opens from 11:00 till 20:00 (weekdays), from 10:00 till 20:00 (weekends) Go to Towada on Rt. 10. After you past HOMAC, turn left onto Rt. 145 at the traffic light. Drive about 4km, and it's on your left.


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