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Uniqlo x Clare Waight Keller

GU, the sister brand of Japan's Uniqlo, is coming to the American and European markets

Vogue Adria

March 3, 2024

The Japanese brand Uniqlo is a well-known name beyond the borders of the Asian market. However, Fast Retailing Co., under whose roof Uniqlo is located, now plans to conquer the American and European markets with the fashion brand GU.

The Uniqlo brand has long crept into wardrobes thousands of kilometers away from Japan, and fashion lovers, in addition to its designs, have been loved by collaborations, among which those with the designer Jonathan Anderson and the American artist Brian Donnelly, better known under the pseudonym KAWS, stood out as the newest line created in collaboration with designer Clare Waight Keller, former creative designer of fashion houses Chloé and Givenchy. Although few people know about GU outside the borders of the island, Fast Retailing believes that the sister brand of the popular Uniqlo has a good chance of conquering the American and European markets. Namely, it is a brand that is more affordable than Uniqlo, offers trendy products and is intended for a younger audience, mostly from 10 to 30 years old. Expansion beyond the borders of Asia is part of the business strategy of the founder of Fast Retailing, Tadashi Yanai, and GU has already announced its arrival in the USA in 2022. when he opened his first pop-up store in New York’s SoHo. Although the expansion means entering a field where high street brands such as H&M and Zara have long been established, Fast Retailing’s Chief Financial Officer Takeshi Okazaki stated in an interview with Business of Fashion that he believes that “GU has the same chances as Uniqlo” and that expansion is now possible, unlike ten years ago, because “dressing trends have become international”. Although the plans for expansion in the coming years are huge, in its expansion Fast Retailing does not plan to ignore the Chinese market, where it already operates with more than 900 stores.