Happy April and happy Earth Month. Let’s talk about Uniqlo … while we have a veritable pig engaging in pissing contests with the wealthiest men all over the world, scheming to build walls in the urinals so he can change the rules of said pissing contest, the new feud between fast fashion earth-destroyer Tadashi Yanai and our own embarrassing guy here raises an important topic. The problem? They’re worried about the wrong things.
If you recall, a couple years ago, I wrote a letter to Obama asking him to even the playing field in the US market by taxing imports from human-rights violating countries which manufacture clothing at a price point below $50. He wrote me back, but did nothing to fix the problem. The current face-off has overseas manufacturers whose violations of human rights have left over ten thousand people dead without consequence at Rana Plaza and bumped textiles to the number two source of pollution worldwide, and Trump wants to stop them. Why? Because they took our jobs. Yes, they did in fact take our jobs, and that is a very important point, but examining the side effects of sociopathic driven brands Uniqlo, Zara, H & M and Urban Outfitters / Anthropologie, you would understand that this issue is just important to liberals as it is for conservatives.
As a response to taxing imports, Uniqlo’s owner was quoted saying “We would not be able to make really good products [in the U.S.] at costs that are beneficial to customers … It would become meaningless to do business in the U.S.” But what he fails to explain is the reasons why he would not be able to manufacture in the US. Could it be that our labor force is unskilled? No, that’s not it. Maybe it’s because we don’t allow CHILD LABOR in our country. Probably. Now let’s get back to the part about “really good products.” What’s a really good product that Uniqlo makes … the cheap cashmere that if you’re lucky lasts 1/10th as long as authentic Italian cashmere? Not good in my book, I’d rather pay full price for quality cashmere that lasts years. Or what about the Heat Tech ™ microfiber, tech means it’s really good, better than anything else, right? Think again: the first time you wash it, those micro fibers dissolve irreversibly into our drinking water and cannot be filtered out. Each subsequent wash releases more and more tiny synthetic particles that glob together in the ocean and destroy marine life. The synthetic-heavy textiles created overseas spew toxic gases into the air and use excessive amounts of water in the process. Wow if you didn’t know already, you may begin to see we don’t need these inferior products and their planet-devastating side effects.
Internationally speaking, I worked a lot with professionals from Japan, and learned about the market from the Japanese consumer’s point of view when I was establishing my business. When Uniqlo first brought their brand to the US, the Japanese people in my industry all agreed it was a desperate attempt for validation. It turns out the mediocre brand was doing “meh” in its home country and sought to take on specifically the New York market to add prestige to its brand. Fast forward to now, their aggressive takeover of the US market has undercut quality goods which have a better cost per wear by bamboozling customers, is well on its way to ruining our water supply just from normal wash and wear, and let’s not forget they left a body count that is comparable if not higher than the number of deaths here on that awful day Sept 11. WE DON’T WANT YOU UNIQLO. Please stop messing with us, your aggressive takeover is over, please pack up and go while we can still clean up the mess and do better without you.
Now the brand name, (ironically a portmanteau for Unique Clothing … there’s nothing unique about their basic garbage) is a lie. So, why are they a fashion brand with no designers? You always know that a brand is shady when no designer will show their face or put their name on something. Designers are in a unique point of view because their eyes can potentially see the suffering and damage caused by the work, which consumers often do not see. Most often when it’s a noname brand (Zara, H&M, UO/Anthro and celebrities who aren’t professional designers,) the silhouettes are stolen from legit designers, a symptom indicative of shady practices from the top all the way down every step of the supply chain. Only sometimes to fool us, they pick up graphic designers to endorse tee shirts simply as a marketing ploy. If we are to begin to establish a sustainable future, and move textiles off the list of the top violators of our one and only planet earth, we need to take down these sociopaths and put designers back in charge.
If you care about the planet and want to help end the suffering, or you just want your job in the fashion industry, join me in using the hashtag – #HELLNOUNIQLO in conjunction with earth month related tweets and social media posts. Stay tuned for next week when we go over the current qualifiers for what makes sustainable fashion brands.