Some handsome genius named Devir Kahan over at The Peak Lapel wrote a quick little article proposing a theory for how Uniqlo manages to deliver great quality goods at incredibly low prices:
Instead of having to produce dozens of different waist and length combinations, they simply produce only one length option and only alter their waist sizes. This must cut down a ton on production costs as well as in waste. It’s a genius business move, and the savings show in the final price of the chinos — usually right around $30-$40 before a sale. Buy the pants with a 34” length, and have them tailored for free. It possibly even makes the pants seem more prestigious because you’re having them tailored. Ooh.
There is also this article in New York Magazine that has some interesting information as well:
And what’s different about Uniqlo is that they have chosen fabric, rather than fashion, as the area where they want to excel. [...]
Uniqlo disguises the limited variety of products it makes by offering them in almost every color imaginable. There are, for instance, 80 colors of polo shirts currently available on the floor. Most of those colors don’t move very quickly—of the dozens of colors of cashmere sweaters available in the New York store last winter, the top sellers were black and white—but the wide spectrum serves as a helpful deception.
Uniqlo is an incredibly interesting company as a whole. The fact that a Japanese company can be so in tune with American culture and fashion is really intriguing to me. Recently they have been expanding their retail presence in the US (from being a Japanese-only company for quite some time) and they recently (finally) opened up a store near me. As someone who likes good clothing I can tell you that they have great stores and great products. They are not without their flaws, but as a whole, they are now one of my favorite clothing brands — and they were able to get me to say that with only one or two visits to their store. For the price, and even above, they simply cannot be beat.
And I think they've only just begun.