LONDON — Uniqlo has unveiled its newly revamped London flagship, which opens to the public on Friday.
The Japanese high street label has nearly doubled its 311 Oxford Street space to 24,100 square feet, from approximately 12,055 square feet, adding two additional floors and a rooftop, which will be a new venue for the brand to host events.
“London is incredibly important for this company,” president of global creative John Jay told WWD. “The first foray out of Japan in 2001 was London. London was always a favorite place for Mr. Tadashi Yanai, himself. A place that he’s always said that he’d want to live in. The theme of this [spring] campaign is utopia, and London for us is the closest thing to utopia in terms of creativity. Business here is somehow done with a more creative edge and bigger innovation. That’s always inspiring. The creative schools that are here and the environment — it’s always been inspiring for us.”
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The space was designed by the brand together with the architects Wonderwall, and has grown from three to five floors. The third floor stocks kids and babies clothing alongside a curated collection from Uniqlo’s Lifewear ambassadors including rapper Skepta, model Munroe Bergdorf, DJ and producer Benji B, photographer Cate Underwood, filmmaker and visual artist Sean Frank. These U.K.-based influencers have handpicked Uniqlo items as well as items from other brands.
“When we decided to do something different — to redefine what is the flagship, we want to make sure that London is the first place to experiment,” Jay said. “I’m a firm believer of stores and physical spaces because they bring people together. So, I think the events that we’re going to be holding here will prove critical in terms of proving to London that we want to be a good citizen and contributor to the already creative environment here.”
Jay said the brand is calling its entire offer LifeWear. “There is no LifeWear department or collection. The entire store is about LifeWear. It is trying to define a simple idea. Our company believes that everything has to continuously improve and that comes front the Japanese DNA. It’s always been a part of what we do, we just didn’t have a name for it. I think sometimes when you’re in zone of functionality and basics, there’s this impression that it’s not stylish or relevant. Our clothes are adaptable and they’re building blocks.”
Uniqlo has also collaborated with Liberty on a capsule collection involves the British retailer’s fabrics. It has also done a collaboration with Christophe Lemaire and one with the designer Hana Tajima, who has created a collection of modest clothing.
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The brand will also give consumers a digitally enhanced shopping experience with an online shopping assistant that will aid with checking stock levels at other locations.