Uniqlo dethrones Zara as most valuable fashion business

Two people wearing parkas
RE.Uniqlo is the fast fashion retailer’s new circular fashion platform. Image: Supplied

Japanese retail conglomerate Fast Retailing, which owns and operates Uniqlo, is now the most valuable fashion retailer in the world, outstripping Zara’s parent-company Inditex.

Fast Retailing reached a market value of $130 billion last week, eclipsing the Spanish firm for the first time, which sits around $125 billion.

According to Nikkei Asia, the business’ focus on the Asia Pacific market, which has seen regions such as China and Australia weather the storm of the pandemic relatively well and, and on casual wear, which has seen a spike in relevance due to the ongoing working-from-home arrangements many workers find themselves in, has helped to deliver the growth needed to dethrone Inditex.

The business was named the biggest apparel brand in China last year after achieving record revenue of $6 billion during FY19, and with China projected to overtake the US as the world’s leading apparel market according to GlobalData, Uniqlo is in a strong position for further growth.

The difference between Uniqlo and other ‘fast-fashion’ brands is that it places an emphasis on quality than quantity, and makes clothing that is simple – with most of its range being fairly devoid of patterns and logos.

“We don’t chase trends. People mistakenly say that Uniqlo is a fast-fashion brand. We’re not. We are about clothing that’s made for everyone,” Uniqlo chief executive Tadashi Yanai said, according to Forbes.

“People will select clothes that are comfortable to wear as working clothes, as well as in their home. There will be no need for clothes that are worn for a year and then are discarded.”

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