TOKYO — Fast Retailing Co. Ltd.’s Uniqlo said Wednesday that it is teaming up with both Inès de la Fressange and Nigo for two separate creative endeavors.
This story first appeared in the October 31, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The Japanese fast-fashion player said its spring collection, which will be unveiled in Paris in November, will feature a special line of women’s clothing designed in collaboration with French fashion icon and former model de la Fressange. The announcement confirms a story WWD published Wednesday.
Uniqlo also said that Nigo, the founder of street label A Bathing Ape and producer of hip hop group Teriyaki Boyz, will become the brand’s first creative director of its UT line of T-shirts. His initial design efforts for the brand will also be part of Uniqlo’s spring-summer collection and feature shirts for men, women and children. A Fast Retailing spokesman said Nigo’s involvement in the brand will be ongoing, but he declined to give a time frame for his contract.
Fast Retailing said the de la Fressange collaboration items will reflect elements of “Parisian style. “They will be available at select Uniqlo stores worldwide.
“We talked regularly with Inès and exchanged views on a number of subjects, including fabrics, design and fitting. Inès’ own lifestyle and approach to fashion closely mirror [Uniqlo’s], and I am very pleased to be launching the new line that we have created together,” said Uniqlo design director Naoki Takizawa.
Uniqlo has made recent efforts to bolster its fashion credibility, particularly through the appointment in 2011 of Issey Miyake alum Takizawa as design director in 2011. Nicola Formichetti also advises the brand in a creative capacity.
The Japanese chain’s three-year relationship with German designer Jil Sander ended in June 2011 and it is understood that the company has been eager to join forces with other creative talents since then.
Since selling his loss-making A Bathing Ape business to Hong Kong retailer I.T in 2011, Nigo has pursued a variety of projects including a new clothing brand, Human Made, and a retail venture called Cold Coffee.
“In Japan, fashion has started to become bland, people have stopped caring. That is another reason I want to go international,” he told WWD’s sister publication WWDJapan earlier this year.
Uniqlo will present its full spring apparel offering in Paris on Nov. 20 and subsequently take its wares to New York and Tokyo for follow-up presentations. The chain is pushing the “LifeWear” concept for another season. Uniqlo said its spring products feature fabrics such as linen and Supima cotton. Key products include tops with bra cups sewn into them and its Airism range of high-tech undergarments designed to keep the wearer cool during hot summers.