There are several clothing brands in the fashion business that are famous because of the style they offer to their customers. Others are famous because of the comfort that they give their customers. Rarely does it happen that a clothing brand is able to successfully launch a clothing line that is both stylish and uniquely comfortable but somehow, Uniqlo was able to do it all with their HEATTECH clothing line.
The History of Uniqlo and How They Got to create their Japanese HEATTECH clothing
Contrary to what a majority of people think, the brand that created Uniqlo has been in business since the year of 1949. Back then it was called Ogori Shoji and they handled men’s clothing stores called “Men’s Shop OS”. Presently, Ogori Shoji is now known as Fast Retailing. As most businesses do, they progressed from this and in the year of 1984, they opened their first unisex clothing store in Naka-ku, Hiroshima named “Unique Clothing Warehouse”.
From this alone, one can already concur how “Uniqlo” came to be but other stories claim that the brand was supposed to be registered under “uni-clo”. The reason why the c became a q was due to human error and instead of correcting it, Tadashi Yanai embraced it and eventually changed all their stores' name to Uniqlo. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise because people loved their new name as well as their new products. It brought in a fresh appeal as a new brand and it worked wonders for their sales. By the year of 1994, Uniqlo had over 100 stores throughout Japan.
Some people can already consider having 100 stores to run in Japan as successful but Fast Retailing knew how much more they could grow so in 1997, they approached major American companies like The Gap to aid them in adopting new sales strategies. This essentially led to Uniqlo becoming a private-label apparel which basically meant the company would produce and sell their products exclusively. There have been a number of brands that have tried this and not all of them succeeded. Uniqlo was definitely a successful attempt at this and many believe that it is because of the clearness of the vision for their products.
People think this success is due to their vision because of how he described it as a combination of Shun and Kino-bi. Shun means timing but at the same time it means trend and in his words, he spoke of Shun as being neither early nor late. Kino-bi, on the other hand, means function and beauty joined together. In those short phrases, he was able to explain what their brand was all about which is an astonishing feat considering how big their company has gotten already.
Uniqlo produced great clothing that people from all over the world loved and raved about. They created and recreated many styles that truly personified their vision of having clothes that are stylish and extremely comfortable at the same time. They were doing amazing as a business and they stepped it up even further come the latter part of the last decade because this was when they released their HEATTECH clothing line.
The release of their HEATTECH line caught so much attention because it is truly a unique piece of clothing. They basically made it possible to wear a plain t-shirt in the winter time and still stay as warm as those wearing thick and heavy winter clothing. With this being the case, it is no surprise that people went crazy for this product and their market for this clothing has just grown over and over again throughout the years.
How the HEATTECH Works
Winter can be a troublesome time for those who experience it for a certain period of the year and even for those who experience it for half of the entire year. People in movies make it seem like having snow and being in a place that cold is all fun and games but in reality, there are a lot of things that make that cold climate very uncomfortable. Among the many reasons, one that remains obvious is the heavy and thick clothing you have to wear just to handle the cold.
Wearing several layers of thick clothing that would probably get heavier when the snow melts and soaks it can be very tiring. This has been a problem for places all around the world like New York (NY) and any other place that experiences heavy snow for decades now. Through the innovative minds of the Japanese along with the cooperation of Uniqlo and Toray Industries, a very simple piece of technology was created and this technology can potentially change the way people approach winter and the cold forever.
Since the creation of this cloth was scientific, there were specific details that were observed by its developers to measure its performance to the many conditions it will be in. These details were heat absorption, heat retention, stretchable comfort, non-deformity, anti-static, odor-control, anti-odor, texture, and moisture wicking. Learning about these things can make it easier to understand what HEATTECH can really do and how it does it.
The first essential attribute of HEATTECH is its ability to absorb heat. This is vital because since it is a very thin cloth, the more heat it is able to absorb, the easier it is for it to heat up the body wearing it. It is able to do this by retaining the moisture through its micro-acrylic structure that traps the moisture as well as the heat. They used a special polyester yarn to enhance the clothing’s ability to do this.
The next attribute they wanted for HEATTECH is heat retention. This is obvious because the warmth absorbed or generated by the cloth will be useless if it cannot retain it. What comes next is its stretchable comfort. This attribute has nothing to do with heat generation and retention but it is very important because wearing clothes that are extra comfy is always seen as a good thing. Even if a thin piece of clothing can keep you warm throughout the winter time, it won’t be that attractive to people if they aren’t comfy and relaxed wearing it.
Being that it is a stretchy kind of material, deformity can be a major issue. If a clothing deforms, it kind of loses its stylishness so to ensure that HEATTECH products last long and do not deform, the polyester they used to make it also has elastic properties. These properties bring the clothing back to its original shape so even if you wear it or wash it again and again, it will still look as new as the day you bought it.
Science states that moisture attracts electricity and since HEATTECH retains moisture, the person wearing is technically more prone to static electrical charges. Having the property of being anti-static is very important to have and they were able to provide it for HEATTECH by incorporating a certain type of material that negates the electric attraction to the moisture the cloth retains.
Being warm and toasty can also lead you to sweat once and awhile and sweat usually brings out bad odors. With this being recognized, it is obvious why HEATTECH would prioritize having odor-control and anti-odor abilities for their technology. Odor-control was made possible by using a similar technology certain sportswear use nowadays. This tech makes it easier for the cloth to dry up so that the fabric remains fresh. Anti-odor abilities were added by specializing the fabric to be able to process and neutralize antimicrobial qualities to ensure that odors are eliminated.
The remaining details they observed were the clothing’s ability to remain soft and its ability to absorb and release excess moisture. These abilities can be seen in many clothing nowadays too and HEATTECH possesses this attribute the same way the other clothing fabrics do so there is no need look deeper into these attributes. If you got confused with all of this, all you really need to know is that the HEATTECH was knitted with 4 different fabrics that possess different capabilities. Uniqlo and the crew of Toray Industries combined these 4 fabrics a certain way to bring out the best of their abilities and to have these abilities work together to enhance the overall capabilities of the HEATTECH product.
Where HEATTECH is made and the Styles You Can Get It in
Creating this kind of technology does not happen easily. They did not just decide to make it one day and have it the next day. This HEATTECH took a decade to create and throughout the years, Uniqlo and Toray were said to have made over 10000 prototypes for the HEATTECH. This type of dedication is already the accepted norm for Japanese but it never fails to leave people in awe because of the things they create with this determination and effort. Because of all of this, it is no wonder that this technology was and is still made only in Japan.
Both executives from Fast Retailing and Toray Industries have described this determination and effort as a constant attempt to achieve Kaizen. This term literally translates to improvements and they definitely achieved it considering all the improvements it has made for clothing but also for the lifestyle of people all over the world. To improve technology the way they improved HEATTECH, the research and development for the product could not just be made in a normal laboratory. Too many complex measurements were being observed and monitored in its production and testing so they have to use a lab they called the “Technorama Laboratory”.
This lab is a special one because it is an area where you can manipulate the weather to simulate any climate condition to be able to observe how the technology reacts to the environment and how the human body reacts to the technology. Tests, like simulating the snowy weather and then observing the heat retained by the HEATTECH via thermal cameras, were done to closely observe behaviors and to find other possible improvements they can do along the way. This lab is not limited to simulating snowy weather. It can easily simulate heavy rain, different humidity levels, different wind speeds, and much more.
So far, all that has been discussed has been focused on the comfort and technology of this HEATTECH clothing line. You already know how it works as well as how it is made and where it is made. Now you can find out about the different types and styles this tech brings with this collection.
For the ladies, you can bid farewell to that thick winter turtle-neck that used to keep you warm during the cold because Uniqlo now offers women’s HEATTECH in the form of their new items called the “Extra Warm Crew Neck Long Sleeve T-Shirt” as well as the “Extra Warm Scoop Neck Long Sleeve T-Shirt”. They come in multiple colors and its simplistic look makes it effortless to pair this shirt with different kinds of shorts, pants, and even socks if you’re into that. You can’t just have your top keeping you warm so Uniqlo also offers “Extra Warm Leggings” to spread the heat to your bottom portions as well.
The options for men may not be as diverse as the women’s but the HEATTECH for men do come in 3 types. There is the normal HEATTECH and then there are the HEATTECH Extra Warm and the HEATTECH Ultra Warm. The regular HEATTECH is worn on a regular winter day. The extra warm HEATTECH is worn on colder days because it has 1.5 times the heat retention of the regular HEATTECH. The one referred to as ultra is for days of extreme coldness because it has heat retention that has been further enhanced to 1.5 times the extra warm heat retention.
Overall, the HEATTECH of Uniqlo and Toray Industries has made it possible to look like you are dressed for summer but still have the warmth and comfort offered by winter clothing. It truly is the step in the right direction because as it is, it can already change people’s attire during the cold to be more mobile and free. With further improvement and development of this tech, who knows what else can be upgraded in the future. If you are going to somewhere cold, you should definitely try out the magical HEATTECH for yourself so that you can better understand how this can change the world.