Sunday, July 18, 2010

Uniquely Basic at Uniqlo

It doesn’t seem like so long but about a year and a half ago, some friends and I took a trip to New York City. There was a lot of reminiscing about Sex and The City as we recognized certain locations while we were there. We did touristy things like walk across the Brooklyn Bridge and go to the top of the Empire State Building. We walked and walked and walked. By the end of the day we were so exhausted we couldn’t even manage to get ourselves dolled up and go out to a hip trendy New York club. Yes our days of youth were definitely behind us. One of my personal goals was to find some hip shops and bring back some truly “New York” items. The kind that people see and they know you didn’t buy them here. Sadly I didn’t see anything like that. Maybe you need to be a New Yorker to know where those kinds of places are. Despite that, the shopping was still good and I ended up spending more (of course) than I should have.

One store that really caught my eye was Uniqlo. First of all it was massive, even by New York City standards. The store went on forever and had 3 or 4 levels. It took hours to go through it all. Second, we noticed it for its stunning visual merchandising. Early in my career I was a Visual Merchandiser for places like The Gap and Jacob. My friend Rita does Visual Merchandising for a major Canadian retail chain. If ever there were two people who could appreciate the beauty of colour blocking, it was us. And Uniqlo does colour blocking better than I’ve ever seen anyone do it. It helps that all of their items seem to come in about 10 colours. I can’t imagine that finding a size could ever be an issue, they have tons of stock! It went from the floor to the ceiling. Rita was so infatuated with it she took pictures. After some time spent gawking at this colour blocking, inventory filled marvel, we got down to business and began to shop. To be honest I found it a bit overwhelming because there was so much stuff. If that doesn’t bother you though, you won’t have a problem. What I liked best about the store was that it was great for stocking up on basic items. They did have fashion pieces as well but I stuck to basics. Doesn’t it always seem like you never have enough basics? The prices were very reasonable and we each walked away with something. My best finds were black leggings for $10 and a long sleeve T which I love and keep kicking myself for not buying more colours for $15.

As far as I can tell from their website, this is the only US location for the chain. A Japanese chain, they have expanded into the United Kingdom, France, Korea, China, Singapore and their US location in New York City.

I’m dying to go back to New York City for many reasons, one being I want to go to this store again. I wish NYC wasn’t so far away. I’m hoping that a trip there is in my near future. After all the money I spent on Vancouver 2010, I have racked up quite a few Air Miles and am going to look into possibly redeeming them for a hotel stay. I won’t be going back only to shop, there are still some of those touristy things I need to do like take a tour of Radio City Music Hall and ride the Stanton Island ferry, perhaps see a taping of the Regis and Kelly show. If you are visiting NYC soon, I encourage to you stop in at Uniqlo. Even if you don’t have a Merchandising background, I’m sure you can appreciate their colour blocking strategy while you shop for affordable basics.  I am adding Uniqlo to the list of stores I want to see come to Canada.

New York City
Soho Location:
546 Broadway, New York NY

Isn't it beautiful?