Last Thursday, at SM Megamall’s Fashion Hall, we had only one question for Uniqlo: How do you choose?
The brand launched the new designs of its T-shirt line UT and there were so many that they made our head spin.
“Part of the collection we are delivering this summer are 2,000 different colors and designs,” said Katsumi Kubota, chief operating officer of Fast Retailing Philippines. There are shirts for kids and adults.
Cartoon and kawaii lovers have a lot of options; there are Disney, Pixar and Sanrio shirts, along with Mr. Men and Little Miss designs.
Love patterns? Check out Sou Sou, a collaboration with the Kyoto textile brand that showcases hand-drawn lines and bold pops of color. A tie-up with Eirakuya, a Kyoto-based weaving company that has been around for over 400 years old, highlights traditional Japanese symbols.
Fans of Tintin will be pleased to see shirts featuring the characters created by Belgian cartoonist Georges Remi.
We also love UT’s Omiyage Collection which includes shirts inspired by different countries such as Australia, France, Russia, Germany and more.
There are partnerships with Thomas Paul Maritime, England sewing shop brand Merchant & Mills, New York-based bike manufacturer Brooklyn Machine Works, photography duo Ransom Limited and Bob Collection, the brand established by Mitsunori and Hiromi Asakura, graduates of Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design.
“Our new UT collection has a lot of collaborations from around the world… It’s global pop culture,” said Dong Ronquillo, Uniqlo Philippines marketing director.
Geraldine Sia, Fast Retailing Philippines general manager, acknowledges that choosing from the massive collection could be tough.
“The texture of the cotton is really nice and we have different necklines—the boat neck, round neck… It really depends on the personality of the person.”
We quizzed the people behind Uniqlo Philippines: Which of the new UT designs is their favorite?
Kubota said, “My favorite is the Kabuki, maybe because I’m from Japan. When you hear Kabuki, you can imagine Japan.”
The Sochiku Kabuki line is a collaboration with Sochiku Co. Ltd., a major kabuki film and theater company in Japan, and Ichikawa Ennosuke IV, one of the most popular kabuki actors.
Sia likes the Avengers shirts. “I love the characters in the movie. My son’s favorite is Iron Man but my favorite is the Hulk.”
The new UT collection features a number of other shirts inspired by movies: Ghostbusters, Back to the Future, Child’s Play, Gremlins, Batman and more.
Ronquillo picked the music line. “My favorite is actually the music collection because I love music, I love Coldplay, Red Hot Chili Peppers… The second is SPRZ NY. I love the collection, that collaboration with MOMA is fantastic. I know all the artists so when I see them, I want to buy them.”
There are Metallica, Wu-Tang Clan, U2 and Aerosmith shirts, too. SPRZ NY’s return brings a new dose of Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock, Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat.
For Uniqlo, the UT shirts aren’t just T-shirts.
“We created this not as a product, you can wear UT to express yourself, your individuality. That’s why we call it LifeWear,” said Kubota.
At the event, Uniqlo also launched Alex Gonzaga as its UT line spokesperson. She said, amid cheers from her fans who had gathered at Megamall: “I’m happy to be a part of this family. I’ve been a Uniqlo user for a long time.”
Ronquillo added: “Alex is known for her wit, candor and opinions and she easily expresses herself. So she’s a perfect fit. Alex is very fresh and she really personifies and embodies the youth.”
Uniqlo would like people—especially the youth—to use their shirts to express themselves.
“We want to inspire the youth to speak their minds, to become self-expressive, to make a statement and be heard.”
Uniqlo is giving young people the chance to do that by becoming part of the largest Instagram live feed. To join, just wear your favorite UT shirt, take a photo of yourself (make sure you don’t cover the shirt design), post your photo on Instagram, add a UT statement you believe in and tag #UTYouTalk. The best posts will be featured on Uniqlo’s LED billboard on Edsa.
“We want them to become part of this movement,” said Ronquillo.
Uniqlo, which has been in the country for three years, has 23 stores in the Philippines, with four or five more scheduled to open later this year.
“We are happy that we have come to this country,” Kubota said.
Sia added, “We will be bringing more exciting things and innovative shirts, blouses, skirts and more because it’s LifeWear.”