The special needs community has always been close to our hearts. Our flagship product, the Tjacket has helped to calm and comfort hundreds of children worldwide, giving them an enhanced quality of life.
When UNIQLO approached us to see how we could work together to serve this community, we couldn’t say no.
At this point, we had something new in the making - a slimmer, leaner jacket for the everyday consumer. It looked something like this:
Then we thought, “What if we combined this jacket… with Uniqlo’s trademark stylish clothing line?”
The idea was born.
UNIQLO’s In-Store Shopping Experience Event
Shopping is a common experience for all of us. In fact, retail therapy is one of the most popular ways of de-stressing and relaxing after long hours of work. But to these children, shopping is an uncommon idea. Due to their circumstance, they are unable to endure the experience of shopping.
What we see as racks of clothes on display… are an overwhelming load of information entering their brains, which could lead to meltdowns, tantrums or aggressive behaviour.
The In-Store Shopping Experience (ISSE) was first held last year by UNIQLO in conjuction with the voluntary welfare organization Asian Women’s Welfare Association (AWWA) and feedback had been fantastic.
The purpose is to let disadvantaged children in Singapore have their own shopping experience. The children were given $100 UNIQLO vouchers and they were allowed to purchase anything in the store with these vouchers.
In fact, the venture has become so successful that various UNIQLO stores from around the region, such as Malaysia and Thailand have picked up the program and conducted their own ISSEs.
Tware + UNIQLO = ?
As a result of a link up by the Singapore Centre for Social Enterprise (raiSE), Tware joined efforts with UNIQLO to augment their existing range of jackets through the integration of Tware’s Smart Pressure technology.
Take a look at this beautiful piece of technology:
T.Ware meets Uniqlo in this simple yet elegant design.
As we all know, Smart Pressure is a form of deep pressure technology developed by us, which possesses a range of benefits. Deep pressure provides the individual with a relaxing sensation which reduces stress and increases a person’s ability to focus.
Basically, a hug.
Through weaving this inner deep pressure vest with an outer UNIQLO jacket, we created an integrated hug jacket that is casual and fashionable and can be worn both indoors and outdoors.
How does this jacket work?
Smart Pressure can be activated via a button or through the Tjacket smartphone app.
Deep pressure is created through the inflation of an airbag layer in the jacket which then creates a simulated hug feeling. Our wearers have a selection of hugs to choose from when they use the app - ranging from a constant pressure feeling to a variable hug and release. A slider in the app allows wearers to choose the strength of the hug, be it a light gentle one or a strong bear hug.
The Event Itself
The event opened with a bang. UNIQLO staff lined up to welcome the eager eyed children from a local special needs school.
It was obvious to the observers that shopping was not a common experience for them. Excitement, apprehension and happiness flooded these children’s faces. We were pretty sure they didn’t know what to expect.
A quick brief by the UNIQLO staff in-charge got the children familiarized with the signals they would use for the event. Each child would be accompanied by a UNIQLO staff member. “Silent clap”, “orange squeeze” were some of the “commands” given out to the students to follow certain instructions. It certainly reminded us of our days in university, where we knew every single camp chants and instructions.
Then the children were sent off onto their journey - clothes shopping!
All the children rushed ahead and start selecting the clothes they would like to have The UNIQLO staff helped them determine their fit and then whisked them away to the changing room. The children could choose whichever clothing they wanted. If the child liked the T-shirt, off it went into the basket. If the child didn’t like the shorts? Back to where it came from.
UNIQLO staff members also helped to teach the children how to calculate how much they needed to pay for the clothes. A hand-held calculator was available as the staff patiently showed the tags to the children, helped them key in the correct values and get the correct final result.
The excitement came when it was time to pay. The staff patiently brought them to the counter and guided them on how to let the cashier handle the clothes. They then took out their coupons and started slowly calculating on how to pay the right amount to the cashier.
Lastly, they headed off to the booth where they got to try our smart hug jacket! Those who tried smiled so happily while they were wearing the jacket. One of the girls just kept repeating, “Hugs! Hugs! Huggss!!”
Looks as if all of the students really liked hugs.
In the midst of our comfortable lives in Singapore, there are many things in life that we have taken for granted. Shopping is something we have known all along and we could do anytime we wanted. Major cities like New York, London and Tokyo thrive on shopping - malls after malls are erected to cater to consumer desires.
Yet there remains a significant group of people who are unable to enjoy the experience that we can. It was heartwarming to see the children excited about the whole event, choosing their clothes, trying it on and paying for it. They had such an incredible time and I am sure all of them made a deep impression on the UNIQLO staff as well.
It is also incredible how a simple hug can make the children so happy. Be it from another person or our jacket, hugs is something that can improve our lives. In our busy lives, we have forgotten to love, help and give each other hugs. But with our jacket. hugs will no longer be a problem for you.
Discover more about our smart hug jacket here at: bit.do/hugs