In terms of fashion stores, there’s a lot that Bellevue has the Seattle doesn’t. A Neiman Marcus for one, smaller boutiques like David Lawrence and La Ree for another. But when it comes to some of the city’s most popular chain shopping stops, Seattle has a lot of the same.
Nordstrom, check. Bonus for being the flagship store. Macy’s, check. Aritzia, check. Anthropologie, check. Eileen Fisher, check. Free People, check. Forever 21, check. Gucci, check. Even the excitement over Zara opening this fall at Bellevue Square is slightly jaded by the fact the, well, Seattle got one first.
Many of the national fashion stores in Bellevue carry exclusive, luxurious apparel you can’t buy at any old mall. Max Mara, where a coat can cost up to $3,000, sits in Bellevue Square with Intermix and Kate Spade. Jimmy Choo, Hermes, and Moncler all found homes at The Bravern. Over the years, Bellevue has built up its shopping reputation to be high-end and high-fashion, But things might be changing with one major addition to the city: Uniqlo.
The Japanese retail company announced doors will open on Friday Oct. 16 at Bellevue Square. The fashion company is enormously popular in New York and is expanding all over the U.S. It’s known for their simple basics that range in all the colors of the rainbow. What sets Uniqlo apart among the fashion stores in Bellevue is that it’s praised for being relatively inexpensive. Think H&M prices for coveted fast-fashion clothes.
It could be that Uniqlo will drive a younger shopper to the Eastside. This shopping is one who might not be able to afford the lux clothes Bellevue has a reputation for, but will travel the distance for the perfect baby-blue Tee that costs $9.90. Eastside Fashion blogger, Rebecca Klein, thinks Uniqlo will add to Bellevue’s development as a hip-fashion center.
“I’m not surprised at all that Uniqlo is coming to the Bellevue Collection rather than Seattle,” she said when Uniqlo announced its Bellevue store. “I mean Seattle has amazing shops. But with Uniqlo being a Japanese fast growing brand, and Bellevue continuously growing and expand to be the new ‘hip’ town. I’m not surprised they are joining forces with the Eastside.”
When news broke that Bellevue was the new location for Uniqlo instead of Seattle, some Westsiders were up in arms. Comments on Seattle-based media sites ranged from disappointment and questions about the decision to using profanity to express feelings about the chosen location.
With so much passion over the store, it may become a key player in convincing more Seattle folks to do their shopping in Bellevue. Fashion publicist of Gossip & Glamour, Sydney Mintle, thinks it will lure many Seattle shoppers to the area, including her.
“I am so excited for Bellevue to be infused with Japanese fast-fashion by Uniqlo,” she said.
Jess Estrada, the fashion blogger behind Fresh Jess, also thinks the store will fuel fashion enthusiasts to make the trip to Bellevue.
“Like Zara, H&M, and Forever 21’s first foray into the area, people will flock to Uniqlo just out of curiosity and for the sake of an amazing deal. Uniqlo also has die-hard fans who will gladly make the trek over to the Eastside for the perfect puffy coat or fleece leggings,” she said.
Only time will tell the true effects of Uniqlo. But it looks like Bellevue landed something special- full of rainbows, flannel shirts, and stretchy jeans.