Jan 29, 2023
Uniqlo Brings Skateboarding Streetwear Vibe to T-Shirt Sub-Brand
(Bloomberg) -- Casual clothing brand Uniqlo is getting serious about bolstering its streetwear cred.
Japanese artist and graphic designer Kosuke Kawamura unveiled last week his first creations as creative director of the apparel maker’s T-shirt line, called UT. He worked with professional skateboarders such as Alex Olson to develop products with over-sized silhouettes and contemporary graphics.
Hired last year by Fast Retailing Co., Uniqlo’s owner and operator, Kawamura previously collaborated with Katsuhiro Otomo, creator of the dystopian animation film Akira. Kawamura, who has also worked with Adidas AG on sneaker designs, was preceded at Uniqlo by Nigo, creator of urban clothing line A Bathing Ape and current creative director for Kenzo.
“So far, UT has heavily relied on licensing,” Kawamura said. “I want UT to be recognized as a solid brand and sell well — as it is.”
While Uniqlo is known for its simple, straightforward designs, the UT sub-brand has embraced bold graphics and colors, as well as licensing with content partners, for its T-shirts.
Since debuting in 2003, the T-shirts have featured work by KAWS, an American contemporary artist, and creators of the hit manga Demon Slayer, bringing customers into Uniqlo stores, especially in Japan and China.
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