Japanese retailer Uniqlo has finally landed on the West Coast with its third Canadian location.
Situated at Metropolis at Metrotown (4700 Kingsway) in Burnaby, the 20,800-square-foot space spans two floors and carries a large selection of men's, women's, and children's apparel from the Tokyo-based company's in-house line, which is known internationally for its "quintessential everyday wear" and relatively affordable prices. The store will officially open on Friday (October 6) at 10 a.m.
"We are all about the tool box," Tadashi Yanai, CEO of Uniqlo, tells the Straight through a translator at the Rosewood Hotel Georgia. "We offer different components so that you can mix and match with the rest of the world to create your own style that will represent yourself."
Shoppers will see everything from basic T-shirts and denim to pleather jackets, socks, and tuques, plus reversible coats, mock-neck dresses, and monochromatic sneakers from Uniqlo's new Uniqlo U line, the designs of which were oversaw by artistic director Christophe Lemaire.
Limited-edition items from collaborations with brands and designers such as pop artist KAWS, Peanuts, Disney, and British label JW Anderson are available, too. The JW Anderson collection, in particular, includes garb such as rainbow-striped turtlenecks, plaid-print down jackets, and padded backpacks that are in scarce supply at other locations.
As hinted at during the announcement of Uniqlo's B.C. opening date, the store has also curated a selection of apparel that caters to Vancouver's laidback, outdoorsy tastes. Titled Natural Union, the assortment of clothing is not a collection per se, but rather a styled campaign and merchandising strategy that puts the spotlight on West Coast–appropriate wears throughout the store.
Think fleece cardigans, chinos, water-resistant coats, plaid flannels (there is a lot of plaid), and leggings and long-sleeves from Uniqlo's heat-retaining HEATTECH line. According to Yasuhiro Hayashi, Uniqlo's COO, the curation is inspired by the meeting of urban and natural landscapes in the region. "[These elements] are kind of contradictory to each other," he says, "but they come together in Vancouver."
Uniqlo consulted a number local figures to craft the campaign, including musician and Riverdale star Hayley Law; chef and restauranteur Joel Watanabe; and founder of Tight Club Athletics Keighty Gallagher. Their images are pasted on the walls of the store.
As for whether or not Uniqlo has plans for additional stores in Metro Vancouver? "Whichever place that is ready to welcome us, we are ready to fly to," says Yanai. "We are very excited to be here."
Founded in 1984, Uniqlo operates 1,800 stores around the world, including two in the Greater Toronto Area. The company revealed in April that it would open a B.C. location in Burnaby. It joins fellow Japanese retailer Muji, which launched its first Western Canadian shop at Metropolis at Metrotown in August.
Check out the images below for a peek inside Western Canada's first Uniqlo store.
Uniqlo Burnaby celebrates its opening this Friday (October 6) with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and traditional Japanese taiko-drum performance. Line-ups are expected to start at 9:15 a.m. or earlier.More