Tuesday, Jan 31, 2023

Arigato, from Tokyo

Japanese high street brand enters India with fanfare and kurtas in tow

The brand has collaborated with designer Rina Singh for their kurta collection

The red-and-white signage of Uniqlo stand out even in the frenzy of other brightly lit signage that dot the Ambience mall in Vasant Kunj, New Delhi. ‘Tokyo to Delhi’ reads the tagline. The signs are just the top of the iceberg — the first-ever store of the Japanese clothing brand in India is spread over 35,000 feet and three floors and they are serious about their business here.

Every available surface — in white — is stacked with clothes that range from womenswear, mens, kids and babies. A large mural encompassing three walls, grabs your attention. Delhi and its daily grind have been captured beautifully by illustrator Dattaraj M. Naik. And local artist Johnson Kshetrimayum has created an installation using lambswool. Both these artworks have been helmed by graphic designer Hanif Kureshi.

Uniqlo has its traces in the 1949 company Ogori Shoji, that was based in Yamaguchi. They branched out in 1984 with a unisex casualwear store, that was named Unique Clothing Warehouse, it went through various changes and today it’s known as Uniqlo.

From casual jeans, hoodie dresses, corduroy jackets, winter coats and trenches to formal trousers, shirts and blazers, neat rows separate the clothes. Knitwear in bold winter colours is juxtaposed with neat plaid ensembles.

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One also sees their collaboration with designer Rina Singh for their kurta collection. They range from cotton, and have rayon and twill variations. Winter wear is dominant with thick socks, puffer jackets, beanies, berets and mufflers. You can also design your own T-shirt at the Design your UT station. Their flagship Ultra light down jacket — a version of the puffer jacket — is a must have for the season at Rs 3,500.

The store opens its doors today. For those who have been shopping overseas from the brand, this is good news. But the apprehension looms — will they deliver on their promise of high quality or will they go the way many other high-street brands have, by compromising to meet the demands of scale.

First published on: 04-10-2019 at 03:09 IST
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