Unique Fashion Not: Uniqlo's Commercial Success in Taiwan

Tets Kimura, Shih-Ying Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Uniqlo, Japan’s largest fashion brand, operates over 2200 stores internationally; however, it is largely pan-Asian as 92% of the stores are in Asia. Taiwan is no exception where the notion of fashion, rather than clothing, originally arrived under Japanese rule in the early twentieth century. After being independent of Japan in the mid-twentieth century, many Taiwanese still preferred Japanese rather than Western designs and trends due to the cultural similarities between Taiwan and Japan. This became further evident when Uniqlo opened its first Taiwanese store in 2010. However, Uniqlo’s business model of providing simple design products of high quality can be explained by neither Laver’s Law of fashion cycle nor the strategy of European fast fashion brands that offer fast cycle fashion items without guaranteeing quality. To discover motives and reasons behind the Taiwanese mindset, we have conducted 15 interviews, including two with former Uniqlo workers, at various locations in Taiwan. We then conclude that Taiwanese consumers seek quality clothes from Uniqlo, tangible features of clothing rather than symbolic elements of fashion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)673-691
Number of pages19
JournalFashion Theory
Volume26
Issue number5
Early online date1 Sep 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022

Keywords

  • fashion cycle
  • fast fashion
  • James Laver
  • Taiwanese fashion
  • Uniqlo

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