UNIQLO is further expanding its “Re: Uniqlo Studios” in-store repair service in North America.
On March 17, Uniqlo opened new “Re: Uniqlo Studios” stores in New York on Fifth Avenue, in Beverly Hills, on State Street in Chicago, and in Florida’s Disney Springs. The existing store in Soho, New York was also renovated.
Actually, this repair studio started from the repair workshop event at the UNIQLO Tauentzien store in Berlin, Germany in the fall of 2021. In Berlin, the city has cooperated with the charity organization “Berliner Stadtmission” to support the homeless by providing them with products that have been repaired from defective parts of the garments. A repair service section was set up in one corner of the store at the UNIQLO, Tauentzien store to demonstrate these garment repairs as a workshop to customers and staff. After that, the brand developed the idea to launch its “Re: Uniqlo Studios”.
UNIQLO then began installing “Re: Uniqlo Studios” at its newly opened flagship stores in New York’s Soho and London’s Regent Street in the last year, with a desire to extend the life cycle of its beloved clothes. Including the four newly introduced stores, UNIQLO now offers this repair service in 17 stores in nine countries around the world.
Re: Uniqlo Studios” is a very innovative service that repairs frayed, torn, or damaged UNIQLO products and reworks existing products by customizing them. Long before “Re: Uniqlo Studios” was set up, the brand had been offering a free service in the store to alter the length of trousers purchased. Currently, repairing at “Re: Uniqlo Studios” is not free, but the prices are reasonable, starting at $5.00. In addition, if one wishes to customize and remake an existing product, its price varies higher.
In addition to repair and customization services, “Re: Uniqlo Studios” will also vigorously pursue sustainable initiatives such as donating unused products and recycling them into new clothing materials.
One of the initiatives is to collect and reuse unwanted garments. Collected clothes are reused through textile recycling and energy utilization. Plastic products used in stores are also recycled, and after being collected and sorted, they are reborn as new plastic products.
The brand has also developed its own “Down jacket Recycling Project” to collect unwanted down jackets and recycle them through fiber recycling. Collected down products are separated into down and feathers, which are then reused in textile products and sheets. This 100% recycling process reduces CO2 emissions in the production process by approximately 20%.
UNIQLO also has a project to set up recycling boxes in each store and deliver unwanted clothing collected from customers to refugee camps, disaster areas, and other areas in need of clothing. This initiative, in cooperation with UNHCR and NPOs and NGOs around the world, has been used in various situations, including support for disaster-affected areas, assistance in conflict zones, and support for poverty alleviation. The brand is working to ensure that the donated clothes are used for a long time by improving product quality and durability, with a view to lengthening the life of a single garment from the product design and production stages.
Many luxury brands in general, have long offered in-house repair services, and some even guarantee lifetime repairs to their customers.
However, the number of fast fashion brands that offer implemented repair programs, such as UNIQLO has been increasing in recent years. Spanish fast-fashion brand Zara launched “Zara Pre-Owned” in the United Kingdom last November to remake and reuse clothing that is no longer needed and sell it for reuse. California-based Taylor Stitch also launched a repair and resale platform called Restitch in 2019.
Swedish fast-fashion brand H&M has been encouraging recycling since 2013 by issuing coupons that customers can use on their next shopping when they bring in unwanted clothing to the store. The collected clothes are resold as used clothing or transformed into other products such as remake collections or cleaning clothes.
Compared to other fast fashion brands, UNIQLO is highly regarded for the manufacturing methods, materials, and quality of its products, and has been loved around the world as “life wear” that can be worn for a long time.
The brand’s move to expand its recycling and repair services appears to be overturning the notion that consumers originally have of fast fashion as “cheap and disposable” and appealing to the true meaning of the brand’s “Life Wear” (i.e., clothes that can be worn for a long time in everyday life).