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.
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion
Eighty degree temperatures and outdoor installations at the annual Art Basel Miami Beach called for bright, elevated beachwear. See more street style pictures on WWD.com. #theyarewearing #ABMB (📷: @lifeinreverie)
Following September’s emotional tribute to her brother Gianni, Donatella Versace wanted to bring the spring show’s deep sense of intimacy to her @versace_official pre-fall collection. Donatella found inspiration in Versace Palazzo in Milan and from Gianni’s opulent apartment. Archival patterns and new motifs were splashed on silk shirtdresses and fitted jersey frocks. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com. #wwdfashion
Demna Gvasalia continues to shake up the Paris fashion calendar — and experiment with new runway timetables for his @vetements_official brand. WWD has learned that Vetements plans to stage its next coed show for the fall 2018 season on January 19 during Men’s Fashion Week in the French capital. Details about the timing and venue have not been confirmed — stay tuned on WWD.com to catch the latest. #wwdnews (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
@zacposen's go-to holiday gift? Cookies! "I'll usually bake cookies and send them as a gift," said the designer, who recently released his cookbook "Cooking With Zac: Recipes from Rustic to Refined." Get the recipe for his Brown Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies via link in bio 🍪🍪🍪 #wwdeye #cookingwithzac
For @monsemaison’s pre-fall 2018 collection, Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim honed in on the brand’s many signatures — men’s wear, which was tweaked and feminized through deconstruction, proportion play and lots of bare shoulders. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
On Friday night, @yohjiyamamotoofficial received the Design for Asia Lifetime Achievement Award in Hong Kong. The 75-year-old designer has been celebrated for many years and is best known for his dark and avant-garde tailoring. “In my long career, in design, architecture, [I’ve been to] so many parties, this is the very first time that I have such a warm feeling, I really appreciate this,” Yamamoto said. #wwdfashion (📷: @dominiquemaitre)