Uniqlo is a Japanese company that was founded back in 1949, it now has over 30,000 workers. It has since grown to be a global phenomenon with a successful online presence.
Since the companies beginning the fashion industry itself has changed time and time again and many would argue that it has gradually become less and less sustainable.
For the first few decades of Uniqlo’s long reign the norm was to have some favourite, high quality items that you wore regularly whereas now thanks to the fast fashion business model the norm is to have lots of low quality clothes that replicate catwalk and fashion trends and to dispose of them regularly, before replacing them with more.
This business model is a danger to the environment as people only keep clothes for a short amount of time before disposing of them and buying new causes excess waste and growing amounts of production.
How To Tell If A Company Is An Example Of Fast Fashion?
From an outside perspective trying to figure out which business model a company adheres to is hard.
However, in terms of fast fashion there are a few red flags that you can be aware of, these include: constantly changing the items that they sell to keep up with trends, selling low quality items, using their social media channels to suggest new trends and whether or not they are constantly advertising new products.
Obviously, a lot of big fashion companies use some of these ales techniques in order to experience economic growth regardless of the type of business model that they use so it is important to look at each company in context.
If a company is using a fast fashion business model the odds are that it will be a fast paced company whose products are constantly changing.
Uniqlo’s Social Media Presence
Uniqlo’s long history means that it has a large fan base and a strong platform for advertising.
However, being founded so long ago means that they were around far before social media so they have had to attempt to adapt to our modern world in order to stay in the game. All things considered they have a presence on a lot of different social media platforms, here we look at each one individually:
- Facebook- Interestingly Uniqlo have several Facebook pages aimed at different audiences all over the world, for instance their page names include, Uniqlo Vietnam, Uniqlo Nederlands and Uniqlo UK. There are also many more pages, this vast array of pages makes it very difficult to exactly what they use social media for. However, from what we have seen they seem to post mostly about specialist clothing and handy tips for repairing clothes. This is a very good sign as it suggests that they are more interested in selling sustainable clothes than fast fashion.
- Instagram- Unfortunately, their Instagram has over 2 million followers and is not used in such a positive way. They use this to advertise new, seasonal trends thus suggesting that they could well be adhering to a fast fashion business model.
- TikTok- Interestingly, the main thing that Uniqlo use their TikTok for is advertising for new influencers. The fact that they even use influencers is not a good sign and could well suggest a fast fashion business model is being used.
- Twitter- Uniqlo have a Twitter account with over 30 thousand followers however, they do not use it very frequently. When they do post, it is mainly retweets and links to their app, this makes it hard to make any judgments regarding their business model as they give very little information away here.
When it comes to fat fashion the price of the products can be a massive indicator as in order to constantly update their wardrobe people need the items to be cheap.
In terms of Uniqlo, their prices are mid-tier meaning that they are reasonable enough to be affordable for most people but not so cheap that it indicates fast fashion.
For instance, most people could afford a pair of their flannel pajamas but would not want to pay to replace them every 6 months. This slightly more expensive cost is a positive as it suggests that a fast fashion business model is probably not being used.
In terms of item quality it is important that Uniqlo’s efforts are recognised.
They do not just use the cheapest materials available, s is common with fast fashion based businesses but rather they use a carefully selected mixture of materials which are high in quality.
Some of their collections include, flannel, fleece and knitwear. Overall, their item quality once again suggests that Uniqlo is not an example of fast fashion.
On their website Uniqlo uses advertising quite effectively. Interestingly, they do not really use any models at all, they show most of the products folded up and draw attention to their colors and materials rather than to who is wearing them.
They also section their website mainly by materials and clothing type rather than by season and style.
This creates a more authentic shopping experience and puts less pressure on customers to become involved in a game of constant buy and dispose and instead gives them the freedom to choose what they wear based on their own needs and style.
As an older and more well-established company Uniqlo have managed to hold onto more traditional business ethics and not fall into the trap of using a fast fashion business model.
For instance, they invest in more expensive yet longer-lasting materials when it comes to the production of their clothes. Similarly, they use their website to promote choice and the products themselves rather than using models and celebrities to pressure customers to buy into current trends.
Unfortunately, they do use social media to hire influencers and sometimes promote seasonal items however, as previously stated all businesses use some elements of a fast fashion business model in order to experience economic growth. Overall, Uniqlo’s business model is very sustainable and they do not promote fast fashion.