Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes ofwebsite accessibilityNew Seattle UNIQLO store draws crowds and donates warm clothes | Seattle Refined
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New Seattle UNIQLO store draws crowds and donates warm clothes

Pine Street recently got an exciting retail addition when UNIQLO opened its first store in downtown Seattle in the former Macy's space. The company now has more than 2,300 stores around the globe, including 44 stores in the U.S.

Their first store opened in Hiroshima in 1984. Since then, UNIQLO's apparel has been anchored in the Japanese values of simplicity, quality and longevity, while philanthropy continues to be an overarching focus.

"Our mission at UNIQLO is to make everyday life better through clothing," says Jean Shein, UNIQLO Global Director of Sustainability. "UNIQLO is a brand that is made for all, truly. We do not chase trends, but rather offer products that are designed with life’s everyday needs in mind. We call this LifeWear. Our apparel is high-quality clothing that is made to last, that we are constantly improving and perfecting, at an accessible price point."

The team chose downtown Seattle as its latest location after getting to know the community through two existing regional stores — one in Bellevue Square and another at Southcenter. Shein adds, "Our apparel is made with functionality in mind that serve the lifestyles and needs of the Pacific Northwest well – products like HEATTECH which keeps you warm without heavy layers – or Ultra Light Down jackets which pack neatly into a bag to take anywhere."

The Pine Street outpost offers all of the brand’s iconic products for men, women and children, including their windproof fleeces, knits, t-shirts and BlueCycle jeans — made using only a teacup’s worth of water, which is up to 99% less than in the standard jeans finishing process.

The latest PNW launch coincided with a cold-weather donation collaboration with the Seattle DESC (Department of Emergency Services) — an extension of the work UNIQLO has done with homeless communities throughout the country — and as part of their RE.UNIQLO program, a clothing circularity program.

"When UNIQLO opens a new store," Shein says, "it’s important for us to introduce ourselves to the local community and help where we can. Apart from a donation of cold weather products, the UNIQLO Pine Street store staff also spent a day volunteering with the DESC, creating holiday greeting cards for their permanent residents."

In addition to serving local communities (like the 1,000 units of cold-weather clothing distributed in the Seattle area), through RE.UNIQLO, the brand routinely delivers clothing to people in need around the globe. Customers can donate their gently-worn clothing back to local stores so that UNIQLO can give items to those who need it most — including at refugee camps and disaster areas along with the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), NGOs and NPOs.

Last year, they launched their first RE.UNIQLO Repair Studio in New York, meaning customers can come in to get minor repairs for their well-loved UNIQLO items. And through their RE.UNIQLO down recycling program (thanks to jackets donated by customers), they've also been able to develop brand-new jackets made from 100% recycled down.

For extra-convenient service, the Seattle store offers its 'buy-online, pickup-in-store' service, as well as complimentary alterations. For any pair of pants $20 or above (excluding athletic wear and sweatpants), UNIQLO provides free pant-length hemming services to fit customers’ unique measurements.

The most recent product launch, UNIQLO PEACE FOR ALL, is a T-shirt collection through which all profits are donated to three international aid organizations: United Nations High Commissioners for Refugees, Save the Children and Plan International. UNIQLO launched this ongoing charity project in June of 2022 with a mission to help promote peace and alleviate suffering.

"With this project, in particular," Shein says, "we focused on T-shirts, inviting collaborators from around the world who support the project’s aim to design unique T-shirt designs." Collaborators range from designers and athletes to artists.

As of September, Shein says more than 484,000 T-shirts have sold, raising more than $1 million. So far, 20 collaborators have supported the project, with the latest launch on December 15.

"And, in addition to donating all profits from sales of the PFA shirts," Shein says, "during this holiday season, we have set up a donation system at check-out so that our customers can also participate directly in the PFA project by making small donation at the end of their transactions. All of this donation will be matched by UNIQLO USA up to $75,000."

Learn more about UNIQLO here.

Corinne Whiting is a freelance writer for Seattle Refined. Follow her work and adventures here.