LifeWear is looking ahead, mindful of the next generation.
Here’s what UNIQLO is doing for society and the environment.

Topic 1

UNIQLO Introduces Garment-Dyed Recycled Clothing

RE.UNIQLO has launched a brand new initiative in which pre-owned clothes are given new value through garment dyeing.

Photography by Ooki Jingu

Used Clothes Reborn
through Garment Dyeing

Fashion aficionados may have heard of a process known as “garment dyeing.” Simply put, the process involves making clothes from undyed cloth and giving them their colour only after they’ve been sewn. This method has been used by UNIQLO in the past, but this is the first time where the items being dyed are pre-owned clothes.

This new project was made possible by technology from Komatsu Matere, a longstanding chemical material manufacturer with strong ties to UNIQLO. High-temperature dyeing is combined with antimicrobial treatment, eliminating odours and ensuring freshness. Dyed either red, green, blue or grey, the items have a natural colour variation, a signature of garment dyeing. With a supple texture and a handcrafted feel, these items have a new lease on life. A pop-up shop offering a trial run of products hosted in front of the Harajuku store won rave reviews (see Topic 2). Now the possibilities for recycling clothes are greater than ever.

Photography by Ooki Jingu

1.2.3. Recycled clothes are loaded into vessels and dyed (green, in this case) at high temperatures. The dye is introduced at the discretion of the operator. Timing is everything. 4. Dyed items are spun and dried. Minor shrinking creates the trademark texture. The strong stitching of UNIQLO products helps to preserve the original silhouette.

5.6. Since each item has a different colour, the resulting colours vary. Dye-resistant thread creates interesting accents. 7. Komatsu Matere is a global leader in dyeing technology. Headquartered in Hakusan, a city where dyeing was historically developed using snowmelt from the nearby mountains.

Topic 2

UNIQLO Pre-Owned Clothing Project Pop-Up

“UNIQLO sells pre-owned clothes?”
The announcement of UNIQLO’s first venture into selling pre-owned clothes garnered lots of attention. As an experiment, a pop-up store was staged at an event space in front of the Harajuku store in October 2023. The lineup included the garment-dyed items described on the above as well as undyed products that had been inspected and washed. Nostalgic fleeces from the early 2000s and flannels with the old-school logo make you want to take a closer look.

The secret of selling pre-owned clothes is the washing process. Knits, which are especially prone to showing wear, are subjected to a special washing program at the UNIQLO Innovation Factory responsible for the latest 3D knit technology. A sophisticated cleaning and drying process calibrated to the fabric rids items of unwanted odours and gives them renewed softness. “I don’t usually buy secondhand,” shared one customer, “but this doesn’t have a smell at all. I can see this in my wardrobe.” In light of this success, future events are under consideration. What might happen next?

1.2.3. Dyed items priced at ¥1,990 to ¥3,990 and undyed items at ¥1,000 to ¥3,000. The selection ranged from T-shirts and coats to cashmere sweaters. A portion of sales was donated to organisations promoting youth development in Shibuya. 4. Dancer Aoi Yamada models layers of vivid colours for a fresh look. Aoi had a great time shopping at the pop-up.

Topic 3

The Growing List of RE.UNIQLO Projects

Since well before the garment-dyed used clothing venture, RE.UNIQLO has been finding ways to recycle and reuse clothing. Here’s a quick summary of the program.

“My favourite UNIQLO item has a little hole or tear...” For times like these, head over to RE.UNIQLO STUDIO. Repair specialists at the studio will help you find a way to get the most out of the clothes you love. In addition to repairs, studios now offer customised upcycling services like embroidery and sashiko. Locations include the Paris Opéra store (1, France) and the Copenhagen Strøget store (2, Denmark) and others viewable using the link below.

Clothes that don’t fit right or have been taking space up in your closet can be dropped into a RE.UNIQLO collection box. Collected items will be put to a variety of uses, but none as revolutionary as the down recycling program, developed with the help of Toray Industries. Down and feathers extracted from used items are industrially cleaned, then reused in new products (3). The result is less overall waste. This coming season, your old down jacket could become part of something new.

More info about RE.UNIQLO

Photography: Line Thit Klein

Recycled Hybrid Down Jacket (from 2023FW Season)

Working Beyond Borders and Genres

Collected items are used outside of stores in many ways, such as donations to refugees and those in need. By collaborating with UNHCR and NPOs and NGOs all over the world, UNIQLO is delivering items based on demands. Clothes no longer fit to wear can be repurposed into soundproofing for car engines.

Topic 4

T-Shirts by Young Artists Raise Money for Refugees

In order to deepen understanding of the refugee situation, and create a more supportive society, UNIQLO and UNHCR jointly organised the Youth with Refugees Art Contest. While gathering approximately 4,000 online submissions from young people ages ten to thirty globally, workshops were held in the US at the UNIQLO 5th Avenue Store in New York in June 2023, and in Japan at the UNIQLO PARK Yokohama Bayside store in August 2023. Refugees living in the area and local youth participated in a discussion of global events and an art-making session.
The theme of the contest was “Hope Away from Home.” Winning artworks were adopted as T-shirt designs, and 5,000 units were donated to UNHCR. The shirts were also sold at select UNIQLO stores,* with a portion of proceeds to be donated toward UNHCR’s refugee support programs. In an era when many are unable to fulfill their rights in their home countries, young people are responding with immense hope for the future.

*Sold via UTme!

Photography by Mariko Tosa

Topic 5

Redesigning Stores to Reduce Energy Use

How can a store be more captivating and more conscious of the environment at the same time? The Maebashi Minami IC store, opened in April 2023, is leading by example. Aiming to reduce power consumption by 55%* as compared with existing roadside stores, Maebashi has a host of special design features.
Thanks to skylights ❶ and a massive glass facade ❷ that let in natural light, less energy is required. This creates a retail space bathed in sun. Using recycled insulation ❸ made from pre-owned clothes in tandem with air curtains further reduces air conditioning needs. In the retail area, sensors ❹ optimise air circulation depending on CO2 levels and room temperature, which change depending on the number of customers. Rooftop solar panels ❺ are able to supply an estimated one third of the store's annual power needs. Using a synergistic approach, this store is making energy and saving energy all year long. For a better shopping experience. For the environment. Paving the way for the stores of the future.

*As compared to annual energy use of UNIQLO Tomioka store, also in Gunma Prefecture, assuming equal floor space.


Illustrations by Yoshifumi Takeda

Design for the spacious interior. Special items include collabs with local Gunma businesses.

  • Text by UNIQLO
Share This Page

Release dates vary depending on the product.
All listed prices, current as of February 9th, include sales tax and are subject to change.

Next Article