Uniqlo has been around in Japan and some European countries for years. It was only in 2006 that it was introduced into the US market, appropriately opening shop in Manhattan’s SoHo shopping district. The brand quickly gained attention from Americans and it’s become a SoHo landmark. The brand has grown so big, that in October of 2011 it opened up 2 new stores in Manhattan, including its new Flagship on 5th Avenue.
Last week, I decided to venture into the 5th Ave store after hearing great reviews and receiving a tip that there was a $9.99 deal on denim! I quickly put myself on a subway and headed over to 5th Ave last Thursday afternoon. Well, that was a mistake. I’ve forgotten how crowded 5th Ave can get as we approach the holiday season.
The crowds in the store were no different. My first assumption was that there were about 500 to 600 people in there at a time. How did they fit you ask? Ahh…well that’s the fun part. The store is a massive 89,000 square feet!!!—making it the largest single retailer on 5th Ave!! I was practically lost. The store is built in a somewhat pyramidal format, where you walk up and move in. It seems to go on forever.
My first status, as I checked myself in on Foursquare, was “What happened to Japanese minimalism?” to which a good friend of mine responded, “it’s in the prices”. Sure enough, the price tag on most items is pretty darn awesome. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that the store is still SO big!
In fact, if there were a large variety of clothes that could justify the size, then I could probably understand. But the clothes happened to be somewhat repetitive.
So what’s this brand trying to stand for? I don’t really know I have the answer to that. The SoHo store is big to begin with, and from the looks of it, the Herald Square store is bound to be as large. As another good friend of mine said, it may just be that “in America, bigger is always better”.