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Fashion

Uniqlo Basics Are Going To Be Even More Stylish This Season

When it comes to wardrobe essentials, Uniqlo’s an industry titan. But now, the Japanese retailer wants in on the style game too. We head to Tokyo to find out how it’s doing so in S/S ’17.

It’s your new fix for “vintage” jeans

The brand debuts distressed denim – shredded, ripped, frayed – for women.

While the brand’s known for its innovative cuts that flatter its wearer (cue its signature Ultra Stretch jeans), it’s adding styles with a more natural, worn-in look ($49.90-$59.90) – created with the same inventive approach.

Yukihiro Katsuta, the brand’s head of research and design, explains: “The beauty of denim lies in its ability to change character, but in reality, we’re so busy that it’s difficult to age your jeans. Our solution: Create denim that looks like you’ve been wearing it for four to five years.”

Parent company Fast Retailing’s LA-based Denim Innovation Center means Uniqlo can pick up on and adapt trends quickly.

Last November, the brand’s parent company Fast Retailing set up the Denim Innovation Center in Los Angeles to bring specialists from its various labels under one roof. Its first project: a joint venture between Uniqlo and American denim label J Brand (Fast Retailing owns a majority stake) working on R&D to elevate the look and feel of their denim (pieces debut in Fall).

The Center’s director Masaaki Matsubara adds: “Our jeans may look normal, but we use various technologies to develop each pair. For example, a pair may look like it’s made of regular cotton denim, but wear it and you’ll realise it’s very soft.”

 

It’s tied up with fashion’s fave graffiti artist

This is the Sport line meant for exercising in, but it channels ’90s streetwear, no?

Besides owning some of the world’s hippest nightclubs (the defunct Paris’ Le Baron, New York’s Le Bain), hotels (Grand Amour in the French capital) and restaurants (Cafe Henrie in the Big Apple), Andre Saraiva’s the hot ticket visual artist whose cheeky stick drawings have graced everything from Sonia Rykiel sweaters to Bally shoes. And now Nigo, the Japanese streetwear mogul who’s also creative director of Uniqlo’s UT line, has roped him in to put his work on the brand’s tees ($14.90-$19.90).

 

There’s a tinge of Ellery… and Vetements!

The 350 mannequins on display at the brand’s Orchard Central flagship hint at how it’s trying to up its fashion factor: They’re meant to show the various ways one can style its clothes. This season, we observe even stronger runway influences.

Smart yet simple separates can go intellectual chic or street style – all meant to make dressing convenient.

Separates include polyester camisoles and tops with flared sleeves – perfect for layering a la a street-style star. Meanwhile, Demna Gvasalia fans would dig the loose, oversized shirts and jackets.

 

It perfects the art of French effortless chic

Relaxed cuts give the likes of denim jackets and trenchcoats a trendy spin.

And it’s not just because this season’s relaxed yet sophisticated cuts (think softly tailored blazers and shirts) would appeal to Parisian sensibilities. The brand is also working on “maintenance-free” clothes. Katsuta says: “Time is becoming very precious and we want to design clothes that offer more convenience. For example, a pair of pants would still look nicely pressed after washing, and you’d be able to wear it for a week.”

 

This story first appeared in Female‘s February 2017 issue.

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