“Evolve or disappear.”The words were spoken by John Jay, Uniqlo’s president of global creative, who was quoting Tupac Shakur at the company’s LifeWear fall 2017 presentation.And the retailer is taking Shakur’s words to heart. Uniqlo on Wednesday introduced a spate of initiatives to the media at Spring Street Studios in Manhattan. That Uniqlo brought its LifeWear event to New York was news in and of itself since the company traditionally previews LifeWear in Tokyo.Tadashi Yanai, founder, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Uniqlo’s parent Fast Fashion Co. Ltd., made the trip to New York to tout the brand’s vast and varied offering and talk up its technological breakthroughs.Uniqlo was mounting a full court press to show how important the U.S. market is to the retailer's future growth. With mixed results in America since the launch in 2006 of its first flagship in Manhattan’s SoHo, the brand has suffered from a lack of consumer awareness, insufficient marketing and advertising and issues related to merchandising and product presentation. The U.S. operations continued to operate at a loss last year, although a declining one.Uniqlo last year quietly closed stores in Danbury, Conn.; Cherry Hill, N.J.; Willow Grove, Pa.; Northridge, Calif., and Staten Island, N.Y., amid weakening sales, admitting that the brand wasn’t gaining traction in the suburbs. Its strategy now is to focus on larger cities in the U.S., particularly on the East and West coasts, Yanai said.In addition to the appearance by Yanai, Uniqlo’s partnership with British brand J.W. Anderson was unveiled. The buzzy label, designed by Jonathan Anderson, is made with delicate fabrics, elaborate graphics and treatments such as ruching and commands luxury designer prices.“Everything from Uniqlo is perfectly made, the designs, they are reduced,” Anderson said on a video shown at the presentation. “When I think of Uniqlo, people have spent a lot of time considering the designs. It’s a difficult job, and I think Uniqlo does it very well. It’s nice that my design can be accessible to anyone, on all different levels.”Yuki Katsuta, head of research and development at Uniqlo and senior vice president of its parent Fast Fashion, explained how the brand’s technology differs from that of other retailers. “We developed denim in our L.A. innovation center. We’re introducing a 3-D whole sweater that’s not stitched at all.”Katsuta said his first rule for partnerships is, "I never make an inexpensive version of a designer's main collection. When we study clothes, we always evolve and improve. We do this from a Japanese perspective, but we always think it can be better to ask the experts."
Uniqlo wanted to work with a British designer and chose Anderson "from a huge pool of talented British designers. We don't do collaborations for a marketing purpose. We believe we're making better clothing for our customers. Collaborations also give us hints for future core items as well."
“I grew up in New York but I hadn’t really experienced the city in any type of touristy way…This was probably the first museum I really explored and took the time to see,” said @haileybaldwin of the @whitneymuseum. On Tuesday night, Baldwin was joined by Jemima Kirke and more at the annual Whitney Museum Gala and Studio Party, which honored Lorna Simpson, Joanne Leonhardt Cassullo and Beth Rudin DeWoody. See more photos on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
Displayed starting this week at the @fashiontextilemuseum: An exhibition on designer @orlakiely titled “Orla Kiely: A Life in Pattern,” which spans two decades and contains more than 150 pieces. “I want people to come away loving pattern and print. It’s something that makes you feel so good,” said the designer during a preview of the exhibit. Also on show are mood boards, samples, sketches and more. Head to WWD.com to see more photos. #wwdfashion
Exclusive: @dsquared2 signs fragrance licensing agreement with Euroitalia, with the first effort of the new partnership being unveiled in September. The brand will launch two scents – one for men and one for women – in Italy. Read our interview with designer Dean and Dan Caten on WWD.com. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: @zefashioninsider)
@louisvuitton has officially renewed Nicolas Ghesquière’s contract as artistic director of women's collections. "I am very pleased to open the next chapter of the story I started with Louis Vuitton almost 5 years ago," said Ghesquière, who first signed on to design the French luxury brand's women's line in 2013. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
“I learned then and there that I had to figure out a way in life to maintain and preserve my sense of pride when I felt good about what I did or what I represented or created,” said @saintrecords on how being bullied for wearing capri pants inspired her to be the artist she is today. Knowles was at the 70th Parsons Benefit last night where she outbid the room for a Dapper Dan customized @gucci experience. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
“There’s this amazing braintrust of people who know the whole universe so well. So we talked to them and they gave us more input,” said actor Alden Ehrenreich on playing the young Han Solo in “Solo: A Star Wars Story.” The cast was at NYC’s SVA Theatre last night for an advanced screening of the film, which hits theaters this week. #wwdeye #starwars #hansolo (📷: @aurorarosedecrosta)
@asaprocky spent nearly two hours in a Plexiglas box Sunday night at @sothebys putting himself through a series of “tests” to demonstrate the process of completing his new album called “Testing.” Get all the details and see all the pictures on WWD.com. #wwdeye
“I’ve struggled my whole life to find a bathing suit that fits me that doesn’t look like a maternity bra. I’m proud of the line because it’s an accurate representation of me rather than me putting on someone else’s clothes,” says @atlantabean of her swimwear collaboration with @piaarrobio, LPA X ATL. The two decided on a swimwear collab and increased the industry standard size for the pieces. Read more about the line — and our interview with de Cadenet Taylor and Arrobio — on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Dan Doperalski)