As shoppers, we're becoming increasingly accustomed to new retail innovations—one-click ordering, paying with Apple Pay or Venmo, subscription services—coming from the high-tech world, so it's a little funny that one of the industry's latest novelties is one you've probably been using since grade school. Fashion vending machines dispense clothing and accessories in boutiques, airports, and shopping malls around the globe, and while they could be seen as a mere gimmick, major brands are embracing them as a means to market to new customers and provide a convenient way to shop on the go.
Earlier this month, Uniqlo announced that it would begin rolling out vending machines in airports and malls around the country (starting with 10 locations in August and September, including Oakland, Houston, and John F. Kennedy Airport in New York), offering ultra-light down jackets, Heattech tops, and other essentials via box or canister.
But the Japanese brand isn't alone in trying out the concept. Below, see six retailers where you can buy sneakers, socks, flip-flops, and more—all with the same technology you usually use to buy Diet Coke and M&Ms.
Uniqlo: Multiple Locations
Uniqlo is known for its well-made basics and innovative fabrics, so it makes sense that it'd be leading the charge with an inventive new approach that'll introduce the brand to a broader range of customers.
Urban Necessities: Las Vegas, Nevada
Leaning more toward the arcade game model is Urban Necessities' famed Heat Locker, where you can put in a few dollars and try your luck at scoring a pair of rare Jordans, Yeezys, or even a piece from the coveted Supreme x Louis Vuitton collaboration.
Cotton On: Multiple Locations, Australia
If you've ever found yourself without appropriate footwear at the beach, you'll understand the appeal of Cotton On's handy machines filled with $5 rubber flip-flops. And according to Aussie media, they're also popular amongst late-night partygoers who've had enough of their heels.
Dover Street Market: Tokyo, Japan, and London, England
While you stock up on (or just window shop) Comme des Garçons and Gosha Rubchinskiy at Dover Street Market's so-hip-it-hurts Ginza or London locations, make sure you check out the vending machines full of collectible DSM T-shirts.
I Hate Monday: Seoul, Korea
Socks seem as reasonable an accessory to buy at the touch of a button as they come, as Korean brand I Hate Monday clearly understands. Next time you're visiting Seoul, keep some Won on hand for a pair of polka-dotted, striped, or eclectically patterned hose.
Havaianas: Multiple Locations, Australia
Havaianas first tested the flip-flops-from-a-machine idea back in 2011, and now you can find them in three Australian locations (two in Sydney and one in Ultimo), as well as pop-ups in Europe and Indonesia. Ideal for when you forget to pack that extra pair of shoes for the beach.
Up next: a top stylist's tips on what not to buy from fast-fashion stores.