Fast fashion and sustainability are usually conflicting concepts, even with Uniqlo producing more long-lasting goods than many of its competitors. The Japanese brand has an environmental impact score of "It's a start" from the fashion watchdog Good on You, and it's making further strides with a new sustainability program called Re.Uniqlo.
The first product release under Re.Uniqlo will come in November with a down jacket that's 100 percent recycled. This includes the down itself, which has been produced with Toray out of recycled Uniqlo garments. In just half of 2019 alone, Uniqlo collected more than 620,000 down jackets to be turned into new products and alternative fuel. Those still suitable for use have also been donated to refugees and displaced people across the world.
The jacket is the widest effort — While Uniqlo's production of alternative fuel is still limited to Japan, the upcoming down jacket will be released worldwide in 67 stores representing 22 markets. As of now, there are no details on sizing availability and pricing, but the brand's current down offerings top out at just $99.
Uniqlo's goal with the program is to reduce the amount of apparel bound for landfills while reducing its own environmental impact from production. By partnering with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, as well as NGOs and NPOs, Uniqlo is also helping to support vulnerable populations around the world.
Donate your used clothes at Uniqlo — Uniqlo already accepts donations in all of its U.S. stores for any of its products, regardless of condition. In Japan, those who bring down products for donation are given a 500-yen discount (~$5) for every 5,000 yen spent (~$50).
Already on the market from Uniqlo is its Dry-Ex polo, which is made with up to 75 percent recycled polyester sourced from plastic water bottles. While the brand's sustainable offerings are still sparse, the down jacket will mark another step in the right direction.