At 9 a.m., the line outside Uniqlo in SoHo was already stretching toward Dean & Deluca. By 10, it was around the block. Stores in London and Paris had already sold out. The well-dressed, well-behaved (for the moment) shoppers would soon find that Jil Sander’s new line for the cheap-chic chain was worth the wait.*
For those unfamiliar with Jil Sander, the line twisting down Broadway towards Prince Street outside of Uniqlo was baffling. The latest in a series of designer collaborations with the Japanese casual wear chain, the +J line at Uniqlo has brought several consecutive days of excited queues since opening this past Thursday.**
Having seen these publications, I went to Beijing Sanlitun to see if anything left from Jill Sander's collection for Uniqlo on October, 8th. It was the last day of the National holiday in China. To my surprise I saw just a few disoriented ladies in the department and no men visiting the upper floor. The collection was lying on the shelves in good order without being messed by the impassioned customers.
There was no sign, indicating the name of the designer, either at the entrance, nor at the relevant floors (ladie's section is at the second floor and men’s on the third floor). The website of Uniqlo took me directly to the Chinese pages, so I could not understand if there was any lead to the name of the famous designer. Few signs + J as seen at the picture above were the only invitations to allure the customers to shop the pieces made in minimalist design and nice smooth fabrics.
I discussed with one Chinese customer in her forties who made her shopping at the store, who said she had no idea about the collaboration between Uniqlo and the designer. Another European customer in her thirties said, she knew, but she did not buy from her collection. She guessed the collection could be a bit expensive for the Chinese people (maybe for her too!). Her friends read some news about the collection, but obviously not very excited. Both ladies briefed were regular customers of Uniqlo.
Uniqlo +J collection was sold only on the markets in US, UK, France, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong and China. But the question that comes to me is if China is the right market for +J?
Otherwise the shop enjoyed a good number of customers, leaving the store with Uniqlo shopping bags every minute at 2 p.m. in a nice weather in Beijing on October, 8th, 2009.
*nytimes.blog publication on 2009/10/01 by Christine Muhlke
** blogs.columbiaspectator.com 2009/10/05