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Uniqlo shines bright online

Latest e-catalogues take the online shopping experience one stage further

With an established reputation for delivering innovative and engaging online experiences, Uniqlo web launches rightfully attract a good deal of attention from consumers and press alike.  Creatively, 2008 was a strong year for the Japanese clothing label, with the Uniqlock website netting the top two awards at the Cannes Lions festival - the Oscars of the advertising world. The visually striking site displayed a simple digital clock showing the passing of time, interrupted every five seconds or so by randomly selected bite-sized performance pieces with the dancers wearing the brand’s clothing.

Not content to rest on their digital laurels though, Uniqlo have recently launched a pair of new online sites offering users a host of interactive content. Ditching the dull 2D approach taken by many clothing brands who tend to favour streamlined online stores over video rich web 2.0 experiences, Uniqlo have created the Tokyo Fashion Map and Uniqlo Calendar

The fashion map allows visitors to negotiate their way through a choice of Tokyo districts where they can peek into stores, catch some street style tips and see Joe Public kitted out in various items of Uniqlo clothing.  The sheer quantity of content on the site is impressive enough, but add to that the intuitive navigation, sleek design and an exciting depth of engagement and it’s no wonder the Uniqlo map has lit up the blogosphere.

Not content with keeping you on time and helping you navigate your way through a city-full of fashion, the Uniqlo calendar takes things one step further.  The site, though live, is still under development, and at present is a largely video-based experience. A central media pane cycles through stop-motion tilt shifted photographs from 7 Japanese cities which transform into a mosaic of colour at the click of a mouse. The Chuck Close inspired images are made up of hundreds of colour blocks which expand when clicked to reveal individual Uniqlo products, from t-shirts to jeans and right the way through the product spectrum. 

The site can be customized depending on individual users specific geographic locations and can also be linked to Facebook, bebo and iGoogle to create a personal blog space Chez Uniqlo. Additional features are still in the works and the site looks set to grow as a destination for tech and fashion savvy consumers over the coming months.

Expanding the brand’s online creative excellence into the real world, this Friday will see Uniqlo announce the winners of a competition which invited entrants to design a t-shirt for the Cannes Lions festival.  The winning design will feature on 10,000 t-shirts distributed to delegates at the festival, while the shortlist of 10 finalists will be available in stores mid-summer.

Stephen Wealan is Web Editor on Shots Magazine

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