This collection features versatile pieces that can go from the gym to the street. What is your approach to activewear?
We wanted to keep all the functionality and technicality of activewear but without looking too sporty. Layering is key in our silhouette and activewear fits completely in that concept. It’s a base that can be worn on its own to exercise but also as a first layer for a modern and chic look. From yoga to the art gallery.
The colour palette this season is more playful and vibrant. How did it come to life?
The Uniqlo U DNA colours are interesting neutrals–rich, subtle and refined. This season we were drawn to softer tones that bring a hopeful lightness to both the men’s and women’s collections. We punctuated this with sunny yellows and oranges, and bolder shades of purple and pink. Then it’s about finding the right combinations of shades to achieve a palette that can be easily pieced together, in every possible combination.
What is the technology behind the new seamless, tubular cut-and-sew pieces?
This is an amazing technique. The machine knits the different parts of the garments in tubes and then we assemble them together. For example, the two legs of a pair of leggings are knitted in a tubular form and then stitched together at the centre front and back. This gives you the opportunity to remove the side seams of the garments, offering more movement possibilities.
Which piece defines the spirit of this collection?
For womenswear, the pocketable poncho in water-repellent nylon represents the idea of the collection by answering a proper need–to repel light rain–in a fresh and colourful palette, while creating a stylish silhouette. We also like the idea of transparency in an outerwear piece.
In menswear, the cotton seersucker shirt and easy shorts, in stripes and checks, really set the tone for the collection. It’s menswear staples done in a playful, textured way for unexpected combinations.
Finally, the drawstring shoulder bag in nylon is really becoming a signature: modern, and so practical. It’s back and we all love it. The whole team has it!
Utility details are a calling card of Uniqlo U. Why are you drawn to them?
Because we design for everyday life. This is LifeWear! It’s what we focus a lot of our time on; the placement and construction of details, pockets, drawstrings, and other modular elements. Focusing on utility pushes us to rethink function in our daily life and our new habits. We want all elements of our clothes to be designed for use, and each element functional. We try to be straightforward, with an emphasis on how the piece is cut, how the fabric behaves. Simple, high quality, with a practical sense of beauty.
How can we still look chic during the warm summer months?
Layering is key. In the morning and night, it might still be cold, and you may want to wear a cardigan or a light blouson jacket, for instance, a ribbed cardigan for women, or oversized utility jacket for men. Crisp cloth, cut wide–ease and comfort come first! And AIRism cotton pieces are comfortable, thanks to the technology that keeps them dry and smooth to the touch throughout the day.