When Rebecca Jennings of Vox wrote about the Male Fashion Advice subreddit in 2018, there was one brand that kept popping up, UNIQLO. But on its journey to becoming the world’s most valuable clothing brand, many of UNIQLO‘s most ardent supporters began to believe that its quality had completely deteriorated.
UNIQLO’s enduring popularity can be boiled down to a few essential principles:
- Their Supima T-shirts were quite comfortable
- Their heat tech textiles, which were available at a low cost, were extremely functional
- The proportions were spot on
- Their garments were also label-free, which was a very refreshing aspect
In “Why Urban Millennials Love Uniqlo,” Gillian B. White stated, “Uniqlo isn’t in the business of chasing trends. […] Month after month, year after year, its staples — versatile black slacks, dependable oxfords, fresh cotton socks — are available.”
It’s no coincidence that millennial guys began to appreciate UNIQLO at the same time the article came out in 2019. The Hiroshima-based brand’s purpose, according to Business Insider in 2015, was to target men particularly. UNIQLO helped usher in the unofficial Fashion for Dummies guidebook by cornering the market on men’s basics, allowing men to mix and match simply. Since its launch in the United States in 2005, the brand has been frequently mentioned in the MFA‘s “Basic Bastard Inspiration Albums.” UNIQLO was praised as very comfortable, with outstanding durability compared to the competition by members of the Buy It For Life subreddit, who are usually critical of fast-fashion brands.
However, despite the fact that UNIQLO is now the world’s most valuable clothing company, it appears that some of its biggest stans are abandoning it. According to costumers who have converted to Abercrombie & Fitch, UNIQLO isn’t what it used to be.
An MFA subscriber complained that UNIQLO’s renowned, ultra-soft Supima T-shirt “feels like shit today,” saying it’s “very thin compared to the ones I bought approximately 18 months ago.” He felt the brand’s quality deteriorated to the point where he didn’t buy anything during his most recent visit to his local UNIQLO store.
Quality concerns aside, this is, in many respects, just the way things are. But the backlash against UNIQLO is more than likely due to the popularity life cycle, which states that something is under-appreciated and fantastic until it is overrated and terrible.
The trouble is, that after those same people began to care more about their style and began purchasing higher-quality apparel, they realized how cheap the stuff at UNIQLO is when they went back to it, but just assumed it was because the brand grew worse.
What are your thoughts on the brand? In related news, did you pick up anything from the Union x Air Jordan 2 collection today?
Photo via Noam Galai/Getty Images