MELBOURNE April 15 AAP – Japanese international retailer Uniqlo has opened its first Australian store packed with affordable, good quality basics in Melbourne.
Brand ambassadors actor Sophie Lowe, sailor Jessica Watson and chef Andrew McConnell were among guests at the opening of the multi-level store in the central business district, with guests enjoying sake cocktails and dumplings.
Lowe, famous for her role in film Beautiful Kate and the ABC drama The Slap, described the store as amazing.
“When I walked in and I saw a picture of myself I was like `oh my God’,” she said, dressed in a Uniqlo black jacket, white shirt, slim fitting black jeans and patent black heels.
“The cashmeres are so nice and they’re so cheap for what cashmere is, and there is like every single colour in the world.”
Uniqlo is known for affordable, quality basics, particularly its cashmere long sleeved jumpers in both v-neck and round-neck styles, which are made China.
Other key pieces are cashmere scarves, wool-blend men’s duffle coats and business shirts.
Designer Gwendolynne Burkin, who creates intricate vintage-style bridal gowns, said she hoped shoppers would mix the basics made overseas with garments from local designers.
“I can almost see it taking over from Kmart or Target,” she said, dressed in a kimono and carrying an op shop black handbag with a gold Chinese character feature.
“If this sort of stuff takes over Melbourne I feel like everyone is going to start looking the same.
“I think with a lot of fast fashion everything looks the same but it will just make our local designers look better.”
Milliner Richard Nylon said the Japanese have made the American prep-style aesthetic their own.
“American preppy culture to Japan is a real look if you think about the popularity of Ralph Lauren and golf,” he said.
“Uniqlo is sort of like an offshoot of that where you’ve got your lovely cashmere jumper, your nicely fitted jeans, your parka, basically nice, buttoned-down stuff a golfer might wear.”
The Melbourne store joins around 1300 stores in 14 countries including the US, UK, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Uniqlo opened its first store in Japan in 1984.