“UNIQLO has simplicity in it. It doesn’t scream about certain trends and it’s very easy to mix-n-match with what we already have in our closet,” explains LeAnn Nealz, UNIQLO’s Chief Creative for Global Design who oversees several UNIQLO designer groups. in New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo and Shanghai. LeAnn said that the lifestyle (of people) was the main inspiration for UNIQLO’s design ideas. Prioritizing the choice of materials used is the DNA of UNIQLO as a brand.
It doesn’t matter whether you are the fashionable type and like to follow trends or like conventional styles, you can still choose or use UNIQLO, because of that simplicity. Compared to following the existing trends, maintaining a simple concept is even more difficult. Therefore, the material (technology) used is one thing that will continue to be developed. Ever with HeatTech? UNIQLO’s basic materials for cold-weather t-shirts and underwear have been developed for 10 years until they finally achieve their current strengths.
Yuki Katsuta, Senior Vice President of Global Research and Design Fast Retailing Company, the large Japanese retail group that oversees UNIQLO said that, “Technology takes time to develop (for example HeatTech), every season we always try to improve design by improving material technology. ( For example) made softer, becomes waterproof, contains moisturizer and so on. Innovation doesn’t happen overnight, a lot of processes happen in it, and this also happens in the design process.”
UNIQLO is known to never tire of developing quality materials through research and technology development. It is proven by always working closely with Toray Industry from Japan as well as a well-known denim material maker from Japan, Kaihara who produces Skinny Fit Jeans using fiber jeans that are empty in the middle as a result of technological developments from UNIQLO, Japanese denin maker Kaihara and material experts Toray Industries. This new fiber is 20% lighter than regular denim fibers making it extremely light and comfortable against the skin, stretchy, absorbs sweat and is suitable for seasons or hot weather.
Especially for this Spring/Summer 2015 collection, AIRism underwear is made very light, stretchy, and very comfortable. Created based on the old concept that underwear warms the body, it turns out that this product is very popular even by people who are not used to wearing underwear. And this year, UNIQLO is making AIRism even better. Bacteria that stick to the fabric fibers are the cause of bad odors on clothes. The AIRism men’s collection already contains ingredients to neutralize odors caused by ammonia acetic, isovaleric acid, noneal and others, and for this season UNIQLO added a new ingredient to control odors caused by bacteria when we dry clothes indoors. UNIQLO adds moisturizing ingredients to the AIRism women’s collection to make it feel soft when worn.
LeAnn then added that, “The lifestyle of today’s society is very active. So it is not surprising that the ease of ‘maintenance’ of clothes is one of the important things.” The simple and practical Japanese (culture and society) influence is also a factor when working on each collection. “When we design something, it has to fit a lot of people.”
When asked how to develop the design of a simple line (read: basic) like UNIQLO? LeAnn excitedly explained, “Simple and pure items are harder to develop than designing something that follows the trend. That’s why we concentrate fully on research and development. Like material selection, paying attention to how clothes fall when worn. Small things like the shape of a trouser pipe, do they the waist of a dress is made a little wider, small but important details to make changes for the better. It is important to stay current, relevant and modern. We are not (per se) a fashion brand. But we are (a fashion brand) in our own way,” LeAnn added.
LeAnn claims to be a fashion lover. And like women in general, also like shopping for clothes. “However, there is a strong philosophy that determines which (designs) have UNIQLO DNA and which do not. UNIQLO items must be able to follow the style of each individual wearer. What is the personal style of each individual.” And LeAnn denied that UNIQLO was a basic clothing line, because different people find different things in the store.
The woman who has eaten a lot of salt and pepper in the retail world also explained that, “It’s a challenge, how to make something new and fresh every season. How to make something suitable for different types of people around the world.” This is also the philosophy behind the LifeWear line. The LifeWear concept itself was first introduced by UNIQLO in early 2013. Focusing on the wearer, LifeWear represents UNIQLO’s dedication to offering innovative, stylish, universal designs of clothing and good quality. LifeWear provides comfort for people with different lifestyles.