Uniqlo site crashes and Japan stores see overnight queues for AIRism face masks

Clothing company Uniqlo has been flooded with orders for their new AIRism face masks, with queues in their Japan stores snaking round streets and their website crashing due to the demand.

Uniqlo are famous for their well-made basic items in minimalist, functional styles, and the new AIRism masks are made from one of their iconic materials.

The breathable fabric is the same as used for their underwear. It’s quick-drying and cooling, which apparently makes the masks more comfortable to wear during everyday use.

Each mask has three layers; one to block pollen and bacteria, one to block ultraviolet light, and one on the inside to keep your face cool.

According to the retailer, they can be washed up to 20 times and still maintain their efficacy.

A pack of three costs 990 yen (roughly £7.50), and the mixture of value and design appears to have been a hit with customers.

Staff at Uniqlo’s physical stores across the country were forced to start a ticketing system whereby numbers were given to those queuing two hours before the store opened.

The idea was to avoid pile-ups and keep social distancing measures in place, but the queues were so big that – even this far ahead of opening – many stores didn’t have enough masks to satisfy all the customers waiting in the heavy rain.

The website in Japan also crashed, and later had to put up a notice on the homepage saying it was inundated with orders for the moment.

‘We are continuously beefing up production and will sell them as soon as they arrive,’ said Uniqlo on its website.

We haven’t seen queues like this since H&M collaborated with Moschino, so it marks a change in what people are looking for from their labels.

Unfortunately right now it doesn’t appear coronavirus is going away any time soon, so buying the right tools to keep safe will be top priority for many consumers.

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