The rumors are true: Uniqlo is COMING!
The budget-friendly, style-conscious Japanese retailer will be setting up shop in the Boston area with six locations planned to roll out through Spring 2015. The retailer will touch down in the Hub with a pop-up location this summer in the former home of Kingfish Hall in the South Market building of Faneuil Hall Marketplace and will roll out their first permanent storefronts at the Natick Mall and The Mall at Chestnut Hill on August 29.
Uniqlo will launch additional locations in Northshore Mall (Sept. 19) and Legacy Place (Oct. 24), with plans to open at 341 Newbury Street and a permanent Quincy Market location in Spring 2015. The retailer’s Quincy Market location will be designed by famed Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto, who also designed Uniqlo’s absolutely enormous Osaka flagship location.And before you argue that a remake of Japanese flagship’s flashy store front might clash with its brick and mortar neighbors, Uniqlo assured us that Fujimoto and his team will work diligently to “maintain, restore and enhance historical facade” of the market.
A Quincy Market pop-up will be open through the end of September and will carry men’s, women’s, and children’s collections. Uniqlo also assured us the location will receive their “I Am Other” collaboration with Pharrell Williams, which launched in April.
Racked Boston originally reported that Uniqlo signed a lease for a space at the Mall at Chestnut Hill in early January, after they very cleverly located a “current lease” floor plan laid out by the Simon Property Group. The floorplan was quickly removed, but speculative locations for New England continued to swirl following the company’s ambitious northeast expansion plan annoucement.
Uniqlo’s USA CEO Larry Meyer offered his own welcome statement to Boston in the press release we received this morning: “We are pleased to introduce the UNIQLO experience to Boston. Proud of their city’s importance in American history, and winning sports traditions, Bostonians have high expectations. We believe our everyday basics of exceptional value and functional apparel will delight them and contribute meaningfully to their lives.”
For those of you unfamiliar with Uniqlo, let me break it down it down for you: It’s as if Club Monaco and the Gap and Old Navy had a baby, gave it a slightly sporty edge and sent it to a posh finishing school for a few years. For price point, it lives within fast fashion territory. Basics — in luxe fabrics like modal, cashmere, linen — come cheap and are cut well. They’ve done extremely chic, coveted collaborations with the likes of Michael Bastian, SUNO, Costello Tagliapietra, and Jil Sander. They’re pioneers of technology-enhanced textiles at wallet-friendly prices (buy HeatTech, it will change your life) and offer complimentary alterations on any pants over $20 purchased in-store. Under $20 (yes, there are pants under $20) and it’s a $5 fee.
Uniqlo currently has more than 1,300 locations worldwide and it’s about to take over your life — and your wardrobe, and your city. Get ready.