Uniqlo has named its first female global brand ambassador: Japanese mountaineer Marin Minamiya. The fast fashion giant will support Manamiya in her activities and work with her in areas such as product development and CSR.
Minamiya, a Waseda University student, this year became the youngest Japanese national to have climbed Mount Everest, aged 19. In a statement issued by Uniqlo, Minamiya described herself as a “Uniqlimber” prior to her appointment as brand ambassador. She said that she valued the functionality of the clothing, and that she wore it when scaling Everest and other mountains. Minamiya has lived in Malaysia, China and Hong Kong and has also climbed Denali, Kilimanjaro, Elbrus, Aconcagua, Vinson Massif, and Kosciuszko.
In the statement, Uniqlo president and CEO Tadashi Yanai said Minamiya’s hunger for new challenges matches Uniqlo’s “commitment to innovation”. The brand recently positioned itself as ‘The LifeWear Company’ and launched its first global branding campaign in August.
Uniqlo has enjoyed widespread success in Asia, but faces a stiffer challenge in North America, where the brand is less well known and understood. It opened its first store in New York in 2006, and entered Canada in September 2016.
Campaign’s view: Minamiya is an extremely logical appointment in a world where many ‘ambassadors’ still have precious little connection to a brand aside from the paycheck it offers them. Her achievements are impressive and inspiring, but she is also someone the average person can relate to. Consumers in the US have commented on the plainness of Uniqlo’s range, without necessarily considering the performance factor. This is something Uniqlo is especially keen to emphasise and Minamiya’s climbing activities give an ideal chance to do that.