“Is this leftover from last year?” How to easily identify the “year of manufacture” and “season of introduction” of UNIQLO & g.u. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

“Is this leftover from last year?” How to easily identify the “year of manufacture” and “season of introduction” of UNIQLO & g.u.

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on LINE

UNIQLO is often associated with “standard items,” but in fact…

For several years now, the high volume of unsold inventory in apparel companies has become an issue, and there have been calls for stricter purchasing and production volumes in order to reduce bad inventory. However, although it is an ideal in the apparel industry to stock and produce only the necessary amount of necessary items, this is actually the most difficult task, and even the most experienced and skilled merchandisers (MDs) cannot achieve a complete sellout in a hundred shots.

In light of this situation, some in the industry proposed the idea of “setting up basic standard items and selling them for a long time. UNIQLO is one such model case.

UNIQLO has many items, especially for men, that are called “standard” items. For example, short-sleeved T-shirts, straight jeans, sweatshirts (sweatshirts), sweatshirt parkas, and so on. Although new colors and patterns are introduced in some cases, basically not much difference can be seen over the years, and it seems as if UNIQLO has been selling the same items for a long time.

However, that is “just the way it looks. First of all, UNIQLO makes minor improvements in some areas every season, even in standard items. In some cases, the items are not improved, but simply changed slightly due to production. The reality is that UNIQLO changes its products little by little from season to season.

UNIQLO products, especially men’s items, have many items that are called “standard” items… (PHOTO: AFRO)

Products that remain unsold even after price reductions…

Next, UNIQLO products are always assigned a “year number” and a “season number. To those outside of the industry, this may seem like a strange thing to do. But this proves that UNIQLO manages all items by fiscal year and season, and that it is ideal to “basically” sell out within that fiscal year. If UNIQLO intends to continue selling items for years to come, there is no need for a “fiscal year number.

If the number of items produced per model is 1,000 to 3,000, it is possible to sell out within a single fiscal year, considering the number of UNIQLO stores and the sales volume, but since the production volume is in the hundreds of thousands or millions per model, some items cannot be sold out even by UNIQLO.

Of course, UNIQLO will try to sell out as much as possible by repeatedly lowering the price of products that are not selling well, but there are still some products that remain unsold. If this happens, the product is stored at the end of the season and will be back on store shelves six months later at a reduced price. For example, spring and summer items would be stored at the end of the summer, and then placed on store shelves at a reduced price at the beginning of next spring, after winter is over.

If a product has a distinctive design, it can be identified as “this is from last year,” but if it is a basic product with no distinctive design, many people will not be able to distinguish between last season’s products and this season’s products.

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, all UNIQLO products always have year and season numbers, which are printed on the price tag and on the laundry label tag inside the product. In this issue, I would like to tell you how to identify them.

UNIQLO mass-produces hundreds of thousands or millions of pieces per model. Products that remain unsold even after price reductions are… (Photo: Image: Afro)

The “year number” and the “season number.”

Take, for example, the price tag on a sweatshirt parka I bought at the end of the fall of 2009, which happened to be left at home.

Above the price barcode are two lines of numbers.

  • 341-443822
  • 02-006-000 (13-14)

The numbers are in parentheses ( ). The year number and season number are in parentheses.

In this price tag, the numbers are (13-14), of which the 13 before the hyphen is the year number and the season number.

Of the 13, 1 is the year number and represents the year 21. And 3 is the season number and represents the fall. Therefore, 13 means the fall season of 2009.

The year numbers are from 0 to 9, and the season numbers are 1 for spring, 2 for summer, 3 for fall, and 4 for winter. For example, 2020 would be 0, 21 would be 1, 22 would be 2, and 23 would be 3. Then 2029 would be 9, and 2030 would be back to 0 again.

Some may ask, “Then how can we distinguish between the 2010 and 2020 products?”

There is no problem at all. UNIQLO’s ideal is to sell out in a single year, so while there may be unsold items from a year or a year and a half ago, there is no way that inventory from 10 years ago is still available. Therefore, it is not impossible to distinguish 2010 products from 2020 products from 2030 products.

Incidentally, g.u. products also have the same year number and season number system. The price tag of a summer 2010 product that I happened to have left at home has a barcode above the barcode section that reads

18-0004-000 341-344035 (22-01)

The 22 in parentheses is the year and season number.

Of the 13, 1 is the year number and represents the year 21, and 3 is the season number and represents the fall (in the red box). In other words, 13 means “Autumn ’21
This is a g.u. price tag. The rules are the same, and it means “summer items for 2010.

Even if you throw away the price tag…

This number is printed not only on the price tag but also on the laundry name sewn on the back of the clothes, so even if you throw away the price tag, you can tell when the item was purchased by looking at the number on the laundry name (you just need to remember whether you bought it in the 2010s or 2020s).

Knowing this is not particularly useful in most situations (laugh), but it is useful when you spend a few years wearing clothes from UNIQLO and g.u. and wonder, “Well, how many years have I been wearing these clothes?” The only thing you can be sure of is that you will be able to solve the question “How long have I been wearing these clothes?

The degree of damage to clothes is proportional to the number of times they are worn and washed, but even if that were the case, you can use it as an accurate criterion to determine how durable UNIQLO and g.u. clothes are.

For this reason, it might be interesting to check when your UNIQLO and g.u. clothes were made.

  • Interview and text Mitsuhiro Minami

    Born in 1970. After graduating from college, he joined a mass retail clothing sales chain and became a reporter for a textile trade newspaper in 1997. after retiring in 2003, he worked in public relations for a T-shirt apparel manufacturer, as a magazine editor, in sales for a company sponsoring a large exhibition, and in public relations for a fashion college before becoming independent. Currently, he works as a freelance textile industry writer and PR advisor.

Photo Gallery4 total

Photo Selection

Check out the best photos for you.

Related Articles