How the Japanese retailer is capitalizing on one of the biggest retail trends this year.
Uniqlo is now offering customers the opportunity to make their own T-shirts through their smartphones. Previously, the retail chain has collaborated with celebrities and artists like Inès de La Fressange and Pharrell Williams to produce a collection of limited-edition T-shirts and accessories. Now, consumers can add their own creative flare through an easy-to-use mobile app.
The UTme! app has a simple interface and intuitive design that makes the whole process of creating your own t-shirt quick and seamless. First, users are invited to create a graphic image through drawing, typing or uploading a photo. When they’re happy with the composition and crop, they can choose an effect such as splash, glitch and mosaic. By shaking their phones, users can also alter the image to create a one-of-a-kind graphic. Watch the video below to see how it works.
The final design can be shared with friends and there’s even a mini-site that hosts a gallery of the most recent and popular designs. The retailer explains that the UTme! app “presents a whole new way to have fun with t-shirts.”
The free app is on iTunes and Google Play. However, the service is currently only available in Japan and costs ¥1,990 per shirt (around 19 USD), plus ¥450 for delivery. If you order three or more T-shirts, then the delivery fee is waived.
UTme! has caused a mixed reaction, with the most notable downside being the copyright policy. In Uniqlo’s terms and conditions, the company points out that its against using copyrighted material but there’s no process in place to prevent this from happening and no consequences are highlighted to deter consumers from uploading stolen images.
In addition, by designing your t-shirt with the app, you agree to hand over all data and copyright to Uniqlo for free. Essentially, the company can use the graphic freely on their social media platforms, website and even make it into a product. Due to this criticism, Uniqlo is reportedly considering an update to the terms and conditions.
Personalization is one of the biggest trends brands can embrace this year. Mass customization of made to order products is becoming more feasible with new technologies and manufacturing processes. Brands like Coca Cola, Nike and IKEA have already successfully merged physical products with online elements to allow consumers to inject their own creativity and personality.