TOKYO — Uniqlo is expanding its range of products made from U.S.-grown Supima cotton for the spring season onward, hoping to woo international customers with high-quality clothing at an affordable price.
Fast Retailing’s Uniqlo is rolling out about 150 items, including T-shirts, hoodies, knitwear, innerwear and loungewear, with some products offering UV protection. Retail prices range from about 790 yen to 1,990 yen, or $7.71 to $19.42 at current exchange. The color palette features hues like lilac, pink and pistachio green. Uniqlo declined to provide a sales forecast for the new range.
The Japanese brand has a long relationship with Supima and has used the extra-long staple fiber, primarily grown in California, for more than 10 years. But it is now making about 30 percent more products than it did a year ago and ramping up marketing efforts. It will similarly launch new Supima products for fall and future seasons. RELATED STORY: Fast Retailing to List in Hong Kong >>
Jesse W. Curlee, president of the Supima Association of America, said Uniqlo is “probably” the cotton growers’ organization’s biggest customer. He declined to specify by how much, but said it was a “big percentage” for one brand.
Curlee stressed that the organization of cotton growers often turns down requests from retailers and brands to use the Supima name to sell their products. He said he was reluctant to grant Uniqlo the right to do so, but was convinced after he got to know the company and its base of young, “up-and-coming” consumers shopping for luxury products.
“They’re the people that we want as Supima,” he said, adding that Uniqlo takes an unusual approach to its cotton sourcing by working directly with cotton farmers rather than going through third-party agents. “Our growers are very aware of the company and we’d love to see it grow more in the United States.”
The Supima products will be rolled out to Uniqlo stores around the world and target the brand’s increasingly international customer base so they will be sized accordingly, Yoshihiro Kunji, executive vice president of production at Fast Retailing, said. Speaking more broadly about Uniqlo’s clothing offering, he said the retailer is looking at ways to accommodate more body types beyond its standard Japanese sizing for smaller frames and the minimal adjustments it is already making in length for Western markets.
“In the near future, we have to achieve a more high-level, three-dimensional adjustment of [Uniqlo’s] sizing, especially for women’s, but it’s still under study,” he said.
Curlee said China’s stockpiling of cotton has created a certain sense of uneasiness in the marketplace, but demand for high-end Supima, which represents about 1 percent of the total cotton market, is robust. Supima currently commands a price of about $1.90 a pound, more than double that of regular cotton, he said.
“Right now demand is basically outpacing supply,” he said.
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews