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Uniqlo Doubles Presence in Italy With First Store in Rome

To celebrate the opening, the retailer partnered with local artists and craftspeople on a series of initiatives.

Uniqlo Doubles Presence in Italy With First Store in Rome

The Uniqlo store in Rome.

MILAN — After testing the waters in Italy with a first flagship opened in 2019 in Milan, Uniqlo has doubled its presence in the country, cutting the ribbon of its first outpost in Rome on Thursday.

Located inside the storied Galleria Alberto Sordi on Via del Corso, one of the city’s key shopping thoroughfares, the unit covers about 14,000 square feet over three levels and carries the Japanese retailer’s men’s, women’s and kids’ wear collections.

To celebrate the opening, the retailer partnered with local artists on a series of initiatives. For one, the first 500 visitors of the new location were served a unique breakfast by Roman pastry chef Fabrizio Fiorani, and were offered the limited-edition tote bag designed in partnership with Tokidoki, the lifestyle brand founded in 2005 by Roman artist Simone Legno.

Legno was also involved in the retailer’s UTme! project, a T-shirt customization service that is offered for the first time in Italy at the Rome store. For the occasion, Uniqlo also tapped Rome-based artists Cecilia Sammarco and Giulio Castagnaro to create original designs expressing the encounter between Japanese and Roman cultures. These artworks will be available to be printed at the space.

Uniqlo Doubles Presence in Italy With First Store in Rome

Inside Uniqlo’s first store in Rome.

For the retailer, Sammarco additionally designed exclusive patches available as part of the store’s repair services, taking place in the dedicated Re.Uniqlo Studio housed in the unit’s basement. For this specific store, the Japanese retailer partnered with local tailor shop Le Tre Sarte to offer a made-to-measure experience to those seeking to breathe a second life into their Uniqlo garments.

Dylan Tripp, flower artist and one of the local faces of Uniqlo’s “Today’s Classic” advertising campaign for Rome, was tasked with creating arrangements for the space instead, including an installation designed especially for the opening.

“This opening marks a very important step in our growth and expansion for Italy,” said Mark Barnatovic, chief operating officer of Uniqlo Italy. “When planning our arrival to a city like Rome, our immediate attention went to the need of opening a dialogue with the local community, to grasp the city’s immense cultural value and better understand its unique lifestyle. Through a diverse network of partnerships with local artists, craftspeople, shops and popular gathering spots, we could get a gist of what it really means to be a Roman and were therefore able to narrate our LifeWear philosophy in the best way possible.”

Uniqlo Doubles Presence in Italy With First Store in Rome

Rome photographed by Ulysses Aoki, as part of the “Flight Crossing” project by Uniqlo.

Uniqlo’s store in Rome adds to its network of more than 2,400 units around the world, including Japan, Asia, Europe and North America. The retailer entered the European market in 2001, when it opened its first store in the U.K., followed by France in 2007.

Uniqlo is one of the eight brands controlled by Japanese holding Fast Retailing Co. Ltd., whose portfolio also includes fashion labels Theory, Helmut Lang, Comptoir des Cotonniers and J Brand, among others. The group reported global sales of roughly 2.77 trillion yen, or $18.92 billion, for the 2023 fiscal year ending Aug. 31, 2023.

The retailer’s search for Roman partners started with a project launched with the global community of photographers Perimetro. Dubbed “Flight Crossing,” the initiative saw Roman photographer Benedetta Ristori swap her life with Tokyo-based colleague Ulysses Aoki for an entire week. The pair captured their experiences on camera, portraying each other’s culture from a new perspective. The images are currently showcased in a dedicated exhibition inside Galleria Alberto Sordi until April 28. 

Other collaborations saw Uniqlo partnering with creative agency BLA Studio to create a map helping people to discover Rome’s secret spots around its store, such as art galleries and off-the-radar traditional restaurants, and linking with Ridaje to adopt Rome’s green area “Il Giardino del Diamante,” or “The Garden of the Diamond” in English. A local start-up aimed at improving the city’s urban environment, Ridaje actively commits to help people to reinvent themselves by training unhoused people as urban gardeners.

Uniqlo Doubles Presence in Italy With First Store in Rome

Tokyo photographed by Benedetta Ristori, as part of the “Flight Crossing” project by Uniqlo.

As reported, Uniqlo laid the groundwork for its Roman retail debut back in October, when it launched a dedicated landing page on its website detailing a range of cultural activities implemented locally. At the time, these included tie-ups with Rome’s MAXXI, the Museum of the Arts for the 21st Century, and with Fondazione Progetto Arca Onlus in support of unhoused people, among others.