Add Uniqlo to the growing list of companies that see print magazines as a “new” way to get in touch with consumers.
Airbnb has one, so does Bumble and even Facebook, all of which are essentially extended marketing campaigns for their product, be it home-sharing, a dating app or the behemoth of social media. And Uniqlo’s foray into the realm of print publishing, accompanied by a digital version (available to download only on an Amazon Kindle), doesn’t seem much different. A 120-page magazine that will be available for free in stores next month when the fall collection comes is dubbed LifeWear, also how the company refers to its apparel, and shows off only Uniqlo product, its paid ambassadors and its customers.
Uniqlo’s magazine, about a million copies of which are being printed in English and Japanese, is meant to embody the “mission” of the company — to enhance people’s daily lives with Uniqlo products.
“By consuming this type of content while experiencing the actual product first-hand in store,” Suzanne Seymour, Uniqlo’s U.S. head of marketing, explained, “we provide the customer with something multisensorial that crystallizes the quality and craftsmanship of our apparel in an immersive way.”
As for why Uniqlo chose print, of all things, as a new method of engaging customers, Seymour said “there’s an intimacy to the experience of consuming physical content” and that it provides a “personal touch.” Although the magazine is free, it will feature no outside advertisers, but the company would not disclose how much it cost to create or print. It is set to come out twice a year.
With the absence of really anything other than Uniqlo in its pages, how will LifeWear differ from a catalogue? Seymour said the magazine is simply “not a commercial asset.”
“Instead it features stories, personalities and places that reflect how LifeWear seamlessly blends within the fabric of people’s daily lives,” she added.
Takahiro Kinoshita served as the editor in chief of the magazine but is also creative director of Uniqlo’s parent company Fast Retailing based in Tokyo. He said he hopes to “gradually increase the number of readers looking forward to each issue of this publication in both print and digital form.”
The first issue features an interview with Roger Federer, who last year signed on to be Uniqlo’s global brand ambassador in a deal worth $300 million, a story on the company’s collaboration with JW Anderson, and of course, a look at a new collection of the “elevated” apparel line Uniqlo U.
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