The much anticipated Opening Ceremony for Uniqlo collection was released here in London and beyond earlier this week and I was fortunate enough to snap up a few pieces. As part of the Uniqlo Designer Invitation Project, Opening Ceremony designed a small men's capsule collection for the textile giant from Japan. The collection which features functional separates such as a wrinkle free check shirts (in two colourways), linen cotton trousers, full zip cardigans, and shawl collar anoraks in traditional colours ranging from black to navy to orange. All of which is priced at less than £50 a piece. The collection has fitted in quite nicely with my own vision for Spring...
Fitted cotton full zip cardigan in an exciting blue and lightweight cotton and linen mix trousers which are simply perfect for Spring worn with sheer white shirt by Handmade in England, vintage wool tie and silver hi tops by bstore.
Check shirt and full zip cardigan providing a much needed burst of colour to my wardrobe worn here with jacket and jeans by APC and hi tops by Lanvin.
In my opinion Uniqlo is so far ahead of the opposition that it must be embarrassing for their competitors, at the very least they must be left scratching their heads how the Japanese constantly deliver on style, quality and of course price. The amazing news that Jil Sander has been tempted out of retirement to make her fashion comeback with a collaboration with the chain is almost typical for Uniqlo. The more I think about this though, the more it makes sense; the Uniqlo style aesthetic is not a million miles away from the mistress of minimalism. Sander is apparently looking forward to the challenge of establishing premium quality designs at democratic prices for autumn 09. In addition to overseeing the core men’s and women’s collections, Sander is working on a standalone premium range for autumn 09.
Uniqlo's emphasis on high quality, low cost basics combined with strong advertising and design talent has seen it achieve post record sales here in the UK but it was almost so very different. Over-ambitious expansion and over-reliance on one product (the fleece) nearly ruined the chain in the early noughties. Thankfully, Yanai invested in design talent and an image change with the help of Kashiwa Sato who helped rebrand and reposition the label (for more on this there is an interesting article in CR). The fact that the chain was close to collapse is probably why the expansion has been somewhat cautious. My heart goes out to any reader who does not have a Uniqlo store near them because there is no one else like them on the high street. As reported in Monocle, Yanai is taking the chain to Paris and Singapore and hunting for the big game in the US so here is hoping that you will all have a store a short car journey away... in the meantime, I'll take advantage of the many stores along Oxford Street and will no doubt pick up a few more items for Spring.