In the world of fast fashion, there are very few brand names that are widely recognized globally. Zara and H&M are considered the giants of the global fashion industry. Both companies in the past decade have put all their forces into getting their names out there, not just on a local level but a wide spread international level which in a way that created market entry barriers. Many clothing companies are trying to enter the market, and they may succeed on a local level. However, when it comes to branching out across boarders most of them fail to do so. There are a lot of factors that play into that, but the most important factor is them failing in distinguishing their name from other fast fashion companies. The core business of fast fashion retailers is designing and producing trendy clothes that come with a lower price tag that appeals to a wide demographic of costumes. The research and development cost for this type of business is extremely expensive, especially if the R&D had to be done on different regions of the world which vary in taste and preference. Uniqlo is considered one of the newest players in the industry. It is a Japanese company that was opened in 1984. Today, the company owns more than 1,900 stores across 18 markets. It is the largest clothing chain in Asia and the third largest globally, so what made Uniqlo stand out? Uniqlo takes slow and smart approaches when expanding into new markets while considering the unique needs of each market. This method may be the most successful way to enter into new markets, especially in an industry that highly depends on individuals’ tastes and needs. The company tries to find gaps in each market and then tries to fill those gaps. It also caters to each market’s taste and preference.
Innovation: Most fast fashion houses focus on women’s clothing. They would spend more than 80% of the R&D on their female customers. Uniqlo realized the lack of focus on men’s fashion and decided to devote more time, money and energy into catering its male customers. This issue is not prominent in Asia as it is in Europe and the United States. There is a huge gap when it comes to men’s fashion. Companies rarely invest in researching what male consumers preferences are. When Uniqlo first started doing that, they realized that a significant segment of men hate how classic t-shirt fits. They also prefer a more fitted clothes.
Adaptation Localization is a crucial part of going global, especially in the fashion industry. Although, we consider the world one big town, and we see ourselves not so different from each other. There still is a difference between different regions of the world and the consumer’s need in each region. For instance, when they decided to open in East Asia, they introduced a new line, Hijab line, which caters to their female Muslim consumers. They also used a very famous Indonesian model, Hana Tajima, for their Hijab collection. After proving to be a huge success in East Asia, they started carrying the line in all their other stores around the world. I