How does international brand Uniqlo go hyperlocal with City Journal?

Key takeaways:

  • Uniqlo teams up with photography publisher Jiazazhi to release 2 city-exclusive zines in Shanghai and Wuhan, Hubei.
  • With local co-creators, the zines are structured around a “city walk” urban exploration map with local spots for both trendy and traditional preferences.
  • With further editions in the pipeline, Uniqlo not only shifts towards lifestyle but earns more localised credibility with the effort.

Once exclusively reserved for luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton, hyper-localised marketing is seeing wider adoption. Japanese fast fashion giant Uniqlo has recently created 2 city-exclusive zines with the help of an art book publisher in China. Bringing the brand further into the lifestyle arena.

“Fake magazine”

The zines, collectively called Uniqlo City Journal, are produced in collaboration with photography and art book publisher Jiazazhi (假杂志, lit. fake magazine). For the Wuhan edition, local city explorer and content creator label Hans (汉声, lit. voice of Wuhan) also contributed to the content.

The Wuhan edition of Uniqlo City Journal, called A Better Life in Wuhan, (新生活城市巡游志·武汉, lit. New Life City Exploration Zine – Wuhan) was launched first during the May Day holiday, when Uniqlo opened a new Central China flagship store at the Chu River and Han Street shopping area in the city. It was exhibited in-store, and a limited quantity was given away as a gift for shoppers who reached 500 RMB (68.87 USD) of spending at the store.

Similarly, the Shanghai edition is called A Better Life in Shanghai. It was released at the end of May and similarly was given away to shoppers who spent 500 RMB or more at its Middle Huaihai Road global flagship store in Shanghai. Like the Wuhan zine, the limited quantity of 1,400 copies was snapped up quickly. However, some netizens reported that Uniqlo still has display copies at various Shanghai local shops and restaurants for visitors to browse.


The Uniqlo City Journal is focused on city exploration and lifestyle unique to each city with local writers involved in their creation.

The zine was structured as a “city walk” guide that points you to coffee shops, art venues, biking routes and food joints

The Shanghai volume explores modern and traditional Shanghai and how they mix to create the unique urban experience of the city. The zine was co-created by local Shanghainese and long-term residents, including a fashion show director, a café owner, a night club founder and, of course, a freelance columnist. Based on an illustrated map, the zine was structured as a “city walk” guide that points you to coffee shops, art venues, biking routes and food joints.

The Wuhan edition follows a similar format. The route starts with the historical landmark, the Yellow Crane Tower, going from waterways to small alleys. It also leverages the cultural aspects of the local lifestyle including traditional breakfast, craft beer, local rock bands and live music venues. From media practitioners to a rock band frontman, the writers of this edition are equally local and diverse. Uniqlo has also confirmed that future editions about more cities will be available.

From fashion to lifestyle

Globally, Uniqlo started its brand zine Lifewear in 2019, after recruiting Popeye Editor-in-Chief Takahiro Kinoshita. Lifewear publishes biannually and includes styling inspo, city exploration, lifestyle content and interviews with prominent figures such as Japanese writer Haruki Murakami, Swiss tennis star Roger Federer and Irish fashion designer Jonathan Anderson. In 2020, Uniqlo also launched UT2020 Magazine for its T-shirt collection, introducing stories behind its artist IP collaborations. The UT Magazine has also become part of Uniqlo’s regular publication line-up.

Uniqlo’s move into hyperlocal publication echoes what luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton, who launched three pop-up bookshops in Shanghai before opening a larger pop-up space in Fotografiska Shanghai last year. These events were to celebrate the city of Shanghai, its culture and the brand’s City Guide book series. A Chinese-language podcast was also launched to discuss the culture of Shanghai.

These campaigns will not only bring local credibility to international brands but also set up a young, cool and “in” image for the brands

Uniqlo’s effort has the same aim as Louis Vuitton’s, which is to go beyond fashion into lifestyle, albeit in a different consumer segment. However, both harness the coolness of each city, from both cultural and lifestyle points of view. In the age of emotional value and guochao 3.0, local culture and lifestyle are deeply resonant among Chinese consumers. These campaigns will not only bring local credibility to international brands but also set up a young, cool and “in” image for the brands, which both Louis Vuitton as a luxury brand and Uniqlo as a high street brand aimed younger cohorts need.