After much speculation, Japanese mega-apparel retailer Uniqlo made an official announcement of its rather flamboyant entry into India with not one but three stores to open in New Delhi this October. It is no secret Uniqlo has a well-established fan base among Indian business travellers, well before this announcement — how many of us are guilty of dashing to the nearest Uniqlo store on an international business trip, to stock up on the brand’s basics, denims, iconic quilted gilets, Oxford shirts and thermals. Well, come October, the brand will offer the very same collection in its three Indian stores.
Tadashi Yanai, who founded Uniqlo in Japan in 1984, says, “Our first store will be at Ambience Mall, Vasant Kunj, followed by a second and a third store, in DLF Place Saket and DLF Cyberhub, respectively. This represents a significant step in our company’s global strategy of offering high-quality, highly-functional and affordable “LifeWear” apparel to the people.”
No doubt, the Japanese brand’s bullish entry — a 3,251 sqm space in the mall spread across three levels — is going to shake things up in the retail space in India, making the competition even fiercer.
We also caught up with Yuki Katsuta, head, research and development at UNIQLO, who tells me, “the collection available in India is going to be consistent with the global offering. We encourage people to create their own style statement with our pieces. Our clothes encourage you to cultivate an attitude.” Katsuta also highlighted that while there has been no official announcement on an Indian e-retail platform, it is definitely on the cards and is considered a top priority.
Be that as it may, Uniqlo’s arrival into India has got business travellers raving, what with the brand’s extremely travel-friendly offering. What should you stock up on, you ask?
For starters, it might be a great idea to get some of Uniqlo’s famous ultra light down jacket, which is extremely light and easy to carry around. This ultra light down jacket is versatile and comes in both vest and jacket versions, making it easy to pair, and carry around, when you’re flying between cities. A traveller must-have is the Heattech innerwear, which is said to absorb the body’s moisture and convert it into heat, which gets trapped within the air pickets of the fibres. This is perfect for those business trips to cold countries, when you need to stay warm without bulking up through jackets. Of course, Uniqlo regulars will swear by the quality of their knitwear — cashmere, merino wool, lambs wool or 3D knit — all of which are extremely travel-friendly, and supremely elegant to pair over formal attire.
For the more fashion forward (have you read our story on new-age, fashion forward business travellers?), the India opening will also bring Uniqlo U, a concept collection, from the Uniqlo R&D centre in Paris, showcasing innovating materials, new techniques and avant-garde silhouettes, under the tutelage of Christophe Lemaire (of Lacoste and Hermès fame).
When Uniqlo plans to drop anchor in other cities like Mumbai or Bangalore, we don’t know… but we’ll be waiting. Shopping for our travel essentials just got easier!