by John Russel Jones

Global apparel retailer Uniqlo will mark World Refugee Day on June 20 with the Make a World of Difference campaign, a collaboration with MADE51, a global brand of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), that brings refugee-made handicrafts to the world market. An original UNHCR x Uniqlo #WithRefugees Keychain will be sold exclusively through Uniqlo online stores in Japan and the U.S. from June 20. Additionally, MADE51 pop-up stores will open for a limited time in five Uniqlo stores in Japan and six European countries from June 16. The pop-up stores will sell MADE51 beadwork, embroidered pouches, and other items selected by Uniqlo.

MADE51 allows refugees to utilize their traditional skills and heritage to create handicrafts and sell them worldwide. This helps the refugees achieve economic independence and rebuild their lives. By selling MADE51 items in-store and online, Uniqlo aims to raise awareness of the brand and support refugee artisans.

Today Uniqlo has published a special page on its sustainability website presenting the current state of people forced to flee and Uniqlo’s activities to support them. According to UNHCR, more than 100 million people around the world have been driven from their homes by conflict or persecution. In response to this alarming figure, Uniqlo aims to increase awareness of the plight of refugees in the lead-up to World Refugee Day.

Yukihiro Nitta, Group Executive Officer responsible for sustainability at Uniqlo’s parent company, Fast Retailing, said: “Through our longstanding global partnership with UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, we have learned that the best solutions include multi-faceted support for people forced to flee. For example, the provision of goods, financial support as well as vocational training, and employment support to help build refugee self-reliance. As a company that provides everyday clothing for all, with a desire for peaceful everyday lives, we will continue to support forcibly displaced people until we create a world where no one is forced to flee.”

Christian Schaake, Head of Service, Private Sector Partnership at UNHCR commented: “With over 100 million people who have been forced to flee their homes, we are increasingly looking towards our partnerships with the private sector for support and engagement. For more than 15 years, Fast Retailing has been committed to standing with refugees. Thank you for your continued generosity, compassion, and advocating for more support for refugees.”

UNHCR x UNIQLO #WithRefugees Keychain

Made in collaboration with MADE51, and sold online at UNIQLO.com, this keychain was made by refugee artisans from South Sudan, where beading is a traditional handicraft. Available from World Refugee Day (June 20, 2022). Limited quantity while supplies last. These products are handmade and there will be slight variations in shape, size, and color. $14.90

Through their partnership, Fast Retailing has worked with UNHCR to provide comprehensive assistance to people forced to flee, including emergency aid for Covid-19 prevention as well as other emergency responses, clothing donations, employment opportunities, and other types of support. Under this global partnership, which was renewed in 2020, Fast Retailing will contribute 20 million yen to help people around the world who have been forced to flee their homes this year. A core component of this partnership continues to focus on refugee self-reliance, alongside other types of support such as education and livelihood training and opportunities.