Remember when the Gap was the trendy, fresh innovator of clothing? It was a long, long time ago, but it’s been a long time since we’ve seen anything fresh come out of the national chain. The fashion world, much as nature, abhors a vacuum. Filling that gap is the fashion-forward Japanese apparel company Uniqlo.
Uniqlo seems to be following the Gap’s old playbook: market quality, original clothing at reasonable prices to a younger audience with a strong advertising campaign. With only one US store in New York City’s posh neighborhood of Soho, the chain is set to open up two more midtown Manhattan locations, complete with a massive marketing campaign on the streets and in the subways of New York. They’ve hosted free events as a roller rink on Manhattan’s west side to further generate more buzz. I think the brand is positioning themselves for a national launch, but they first want to solidify their brand image as a hip, urban purveyor of new, innovative clothing. I’m a fan. As a disclaimer, I should note that I’m wearing a pair of their jeans as I tap this post out.
So, be on the lookout for a Uniqlo opening near you. I bet that it’ll happen to those of you in major metropolitan areas in the next 18 months. And remember, you read it here first: Uniqlo is the new, hipper version of the Gap.