Japanese Clothing retailer Uniqlo arrives Friday, October 5th with an opening ceremony at 9:45am co-hosted by Mayor Ed Lee and Global CEO and Chairman Tadashi Yanai.
The Powell Street store is the first to hit the West Coast, and the fifth store unveiled in the United States—other stores include three in New York City and one in New Jersey that opened last Friday. Huge crowds are expected for the 10am opening, with special sale prices on selected merchandise running from Friday through Sunday, while supplies last.
Ninety-one rotating mannequins, adorned head to toe in color coordinated outfits, spin around the store, displaying the freshest offerings of the Japanese clothing label. Uniqlo’s style is basic, but modern; the perfect component wear—think of the brand as a more stylish version of The Gap, with a wallet-friendly price point. The most expensive item seen during the preview was a Wool Cocoon coat for women priced at $129.90, and even that isn’t asking too much for a timeless yet unique piece that can be worn again and again.
The clothing line is made to Japanese standards and manufactured in China, with an emphasis on durability.
Some standout pieces include the Japanese Engineered Denim for men and women (specially priced for the opening at $9.90, a real steal), the Ultra Light Down jackets (so warm, yet so light that you can roll the entire jacket into a small carry bag), Extra Fine Merino sweaters for men and women ($19.90 special opening price), and HEATTECH undergarments which keep odor away and retain body heat for those chilly San Francisco foggy mornings.
Bright colors and fun patterns are the look of the fall/winter season at Uniqlo, and merchandise is refreshed up to twice a week, encouraging repeat visits from shoppers. In addition to basic staples like fleeces, oxfords, socks in every imaginable pattern and color, and sweaters, Uniqlo regularly teams with up-and-coming designers, such as Orla Kiely, a London-based designer who specializes in bold, nature-inspired prints, and Double Standard, a more gothic line for those with a darker sensibility. The collaborations are meant to bring a younger female audience into the store and keep them coming back.
While the clothes are beautiful and technologically innovative, the architectural design of the former DSW location is also impressive, preserving the original facade but breathing new life into the interior with skylights illuminating the entire store with natural sunlight, a rainbow LED-lit staircase running from the main floor to the top floor and 77 LCD screens showcasing the latest products.
Another fun technological showpiece in the store is the Uniqlo “Magic Mirror,” a virtual dressing room in the form of a 60-inch monitor with Dai Nippon Printing’s Kinect color-changing engine, allowing shoppers to browse through different color palettes using the touch screen panel without having to remove the original item.
Shoppers may also take a photo of themselves with the Magic Mirror and share their possible purchases on social media.
Future plans for the brand include mall stores, e-commerce coming later this fall, and a pop-up shop on 117 Post St (between Robert Kirk Lane & Kearny Street) reopening for the holiday season.
The Uniqlo debut starts at 10 a.m. on Friday, October 5th, and the special sale runs until Sunday, October 7th, or until supplies last. Uniqlo is located at 111 Powell Street (between O’Farrell Street and Ellis Street), San Francisco, California.