About a week ago, a friend sent me a listing from simplyhired.com in which Seattle-based retail management candidates are asked to submit resumes to Uniqlo, which is more or less the Japanese version of American Apparel. Only more cult-ish, and, considering there are no half-naked coeds in Uniqlo ads, more tasteful. And, considering the string of collaborations with Jil Sander, just way cooler in general.
I made a few calls—no one knew anything and we all wondered what building they’d move into (is there an empty one?)—and sort of forgot about the almost-news until earlier today when I saw another friend post something on Facebook about how Uniqlo’s new site has no e-commerce. (Her equally annoyed and disgruntled friends posted comments about trying to unlike the post.)
Well, it might no longer matter that you can’t order the perfect stripey sweater from Uniqlo’s nearly useless site, because the retail chain might be rolling into town some time soon, hiring some fashion nerds, and setting up shop. Which, by Uniqlo standards, isn’t an easy thing to do. Whether you’re a fan of the brand or brand new to it, you should find 20 minutes to read the venerable New York Magazine’s Uniqlones, in which writer Bryant Urstadt explores how "seemingly out of nowhere, their cheap, skinny rainbow-colored basics became a kind of New York uniform" and asks "just how did the Japanese discount brand become the hottest retailer in the city?"
Make time also for this short Associated Press via Seattle Times piece that mentions that Uniqlo head Tadashi Yanai is Japan’s richest person, and quotes him as saying that Japanese companies are doomed if they don’t go global.
Going global = opening in Seattle? I’ve only got one piece of evidence that says it might be true. What have you got?