We caught up with Uniqlo U's Artistic Director Christophe Lemaire in Tokyo and asked him how his collab with the iconic Japanese brand resulted to a mainstay creative point-of-view. Read on below to find out how the Parisian designer's aesthetic has given birth to Uniqlo's U line.
WHAT IS THE CONCEPT OF UNIQLO U?
"Uniqlo U is a new concept in LifeWear from the Uniqlo Paris Design Center. U represents the very essence of Uniqlo. The “U” sound itself has a powerful phonetic association with the Uniqlo brand, and using it ensures our collection stays rooted in the brand’s DNA. We also wanted to create a strong visual presence to support the collection and came up with the 12 U logo. The number 12 is key. Twelve is a ubiquitous number in everyday life: 12 months, 12 hours, and 12 years in the Chinese zodiac. The concept incorporates the ideas of universal clothing essential to everyday life, and the desire to spend more time together with the people who wear it. This universality idea is expressed well in the logo and concept. Also, since the line originated from the Paris R&D center, it also expresses teamwork and a cohesive unit."
HOW DOES UNIQLO U DIFFER FROM THE UNIQLO BRAND?
"Uniqlo U includes new ideas that were not previously available from Uniqlo. If the collection becomes popular, these ideas will naturally be reflected across Uniqlo products, so in that sense, this is an important new line that could influence the Uniqlo brand overall."
A pale canary yellow dress from Uniqlo U's Spring Summer 2017 collection.
HOW DOES UNIQLO U DIFFER FROM UNIQLO AND LEMAIRE?
"Uniqlo and Lemaire was a collaboration that blended the Uniqlo and Lemaire brands together. In terms of design, the collection is closer to the Lemaire brand style. "
WAS BECOMING A PART OF THE UNIQLO FAMILY AN EASY DECISION?
"It was great to have the chance to work with the Uniqlo team on the Uniqlo and Lemaire collaboration. We have been quite amazed by their professionalism and positive attitude, and by their dedication to always achieve the best quality possible. As a designer, I am interested in reality and how to improve everyday life by designing good clothes, that can become like “friends” to help people feel bettter about themselves. I feel this philosophy is shared by Mr. Yanai, as seen in his concept of LifeWear made for all. I could feel from the beginning a mutual understanding and respect between us. So yes, it was an easy decision."
We're hoping that these seamless swimsuits would hit Philippines shores!
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THE UNIQLO U NAME AND LOGO?
"In creating this collection, we first thought of 12 words that begin with the phrase “U have” and created a logo that expresses these with 12 Us. We felt that “Uniqlo U” was the perfect banner to house these ideas."
IS IT DIFFICULT TO BALANCE AESTHETICS WITH TECHNOLOGICAL DETAILS?
"Design is always a challenge. This is what is interesting."
Read our full interview with Christophe Lemaire inside our March issue here.