Yes, UNIQLO is a fast fashion brand.
UNIQLO is a Japanese fashion retailer, founded by Japanese businessman Tadashi Yanai (worth $28.7 billion) in 1949. The brand made £2.3 billion in profit in 2019.
UNIQLO is owned by Yanai’s company, Fast Retailing, which also owns J Brand, Comptoir des Cotonniers, GU, Princess Tam-Tam, and Theory. (And while I don’t consider all of these to be fast fashion brands, their connection to UNIQLO makes me feel uneasy supporting any of them).
Unfortunately when writing this guide, UNIQLO’s sustainability section refused to load (instead, only appearing with phrase ‘Oops…Something went wrong’) so I’ve gone by Good On You’s analysis of UNIQLO. In summary: it’s easier to see how they’re working on adopting more sustainable materials and practices than supporting their supply chains.
I always think this approach reveals business’ true understanding of sustainability; ignoring the humanity of the people who work for them while adopting better materials to appease customers.
This is also reflected in UNIQLO’s attempt to stop paying their garment factories in 2020 due to covid-19. After external pressure, UNIQLO promised to pay their factories – but it should have done that in the first place.
In late 2022, UNIQLO was found to be sourcing polyester from a manufacturer using Russian oil, despite having suspended sales to the country in protest of the illegal war on Ukraine.
Transparency Rating: 40/100
Sustainability Rating: 3/5
This snippet is part of a larger guide to UK fast fashion brands, which goes into more detail about the issues with fast fashion, why it will never be sustainable, and how to make your wardrobe more sustainable.
Data for this review is taken from the brand’s website, corporate website, and Wikipedia. The Transparency Rating is from Fashion Transparency Index 2020. The Sustainability Rating is from Good On You.