By IFAB MEDIA - NEWS BUREAU - May 9, 2023 | 45 3 minutes read
Japanese fast fashion brand Uniqlo is garnering attention with the installation of its second recycling studio, RE.UNIQLO STUDIO, in Japan, at its largest store in Kyushu Prefecture.
Uniqlo currently operates RE.UNIQLO STUDIOs in 10 countries around the world and they have gained popularity for allowing customers to recycle their old clothes in exchange for a small fee.
In South Korea, Uniqlo collects old clothes through its stores and donates them or recycles down jackets into new products.
SPA, or special store retailer of private label apparel, brands, which have been criticized for mass-producing waste clothing and contributing to environmental pollution, are turning to eco-friendly strategies.
SPA brands have been criticized for increasing garment waste by rolling out low-quality clothes that do not last long to increase profitability despite the advantage that they sell clothes cheaply by eliminating intermediate distribution costs through vertical integration.
Figures show that the amount of discarded clothing has doubled.
According to Korea’s Ministry of Environment on Sunday, waste clothing discharge reached 118,386 tons in 2021, up from around 60,000 tons per year between 2017 and 2019.
SPA brands tend to increase their sales as the economy worsens and this leads to an increase in garment waste, according to an unnamed fashion industry insider.
The European parliament’s Environment Committee is calling on the European Commission and EU countries to adopt measures against fast fashion to prevent the overproduction and consumption of clothing.
SPA brands are quickly moving away from fast fashion. One of the most prominent brands is Uniqlo.
In recent years, the brand has been targeting the environmentally conscious U.S. and European markets. The brand has set the goal to have 50 percent of its raw materials be eco-friendly by 2030 and to power 100 percent of its stores and major offices with renewable energy.
Tadashi Yanai, the Founder and President of Fast Retailing Co., the parent company of Uniqlo, characterized the brand as “lifewear” and adopted a new strategy of seeking profitability by improving the quality of clothing, rather than making everyday clothes with simple designs.