There was no conscious intention involved in us discovering Uniqlo and subsequently making it a staple in our hassle-free inexpensive mass fashion “styles”. If you can call it style that I like clothes, but have boring taste, dislike shopping, and would generally rather spend money on something else.
So we gravitated to Uniqlo on Oxford Street over two years ago I guess the same way I was first drawn to H&M on Broadway in Soho in New York. Broadway and Oxford Street have more similarities than I think New York would like to admit. Big chain stores on a major thoroughfare flanked by side streets and neighborhoods replete with much cooler and more independent stores. The streets, especially on weekends, are literally teeming with so many human bodies, you could cry and impale yourself with dull objects in a futile attempt to ease the pain. And the people are, how do you say |not cool|. I mean, I’m not cool. But the people that walk ten deep on those streets are for sure not cool. Tourists. Tweens. B&T. Masochists. The two streets I describe are basically outdoor malls with the same stores but none of the perks like cleanliness, Sbarro and benches to sit on next to fake plants for ambiance.
And yet I spent my 6 years in Brooklyn taking the F train to the Broadway-Lafayette stop every time I needed something to wear. H&M I realized then was the hipper version of Old Navy. Flimsy, ubiquitous, cheap. Awesome. So of course I enjoy that there is an H&M on every corner in London and I am still surprised when friends or family tell me they don’t live near one. It’s like not living near an Ikea. How does that happen when bright Swedes are making decisions?
Now when Bryan and I have to buy clothes, we join the cattle on Oxford Street like zombies. So two years ago on one of our forced forays to the outdoor mall of London, we happened upon Uniqlo. Its size, orderly but happy cleanliness and perceived abundance of clothes of course drew us in. I don’t like to bargain hunt or peruse lots of racks. I like my selection to be obvious and easily accessible. I like Bryan to keep his blood pressure at a healthy level at the register/till. And now, like H&M, I take Uniqlo for granted. If I want leggings or a tank top/vest or basically any item of clothing known to mankind in one of 60 different solid shades, I go on a 10 minute walk to Uniqlo. As we did this Saturday. So yes, I was not surprised to recall that there is one on Broadway in Soho. But I was surprised to hear it’s not on every other street corner near you.
Apparently I have lived in New York and London too long.
But one day, coming to a mall near you… check out Uniqlo. Borrowing business modeling from The GAP and with a founder who is the richest man in Japan, you may never buy an expensive cashmere sweater again.
(I definitely laughed at the part about relaxing the fit of jeans/pants/trousers for the American market and then it failing in NY because those trendy hipsters like the MetroEuroSexual fit. Bravo! Like.)