Designer Interview

Designer Interview

We interviewed Maiko Kurogouchi on her thoughts on the source of inspiration and the concept of the collection.

Can you share your thoughts on this collaboration with our readers?

I view innerwear as beautiful, romantic garments that also require comfort, and I’ve long admired the soft comfort of UNIQLO innerwear. In addition to functionality, I imagined a line of undergarments that could make women’s bodies look and feel beautiful. If women felt confident in the mirror each morning, I felt it could add joy to their everyday lives. In creating this collection, I began with the functional elements I seek out when choosing undergarments, and added design details such as a colour palette inspired by women’s natural skin tones, and cuts to frame the beautiful curves of the body. By blending design with UNIQLO's world-leading technology, my hope was to create a collection that allows women to transition easily from innerwear to clothing.

How would you describe your design philosophy?

At Mame Kurogouchi we always begin with textile creation, meaning the design process is a long one from start to finish. I place great value on the clothes-making process, the road a garment takes from its design stages to the moment it lands in the customer’s hands. Working with the UNIQLO design team, I was moved to find they shared a similar philosophy, approaching each garment from textile creation to the final touches with a researcher’s mind. In this collaboration, my hope was to enhance the natural beauty that lies within every woman. I was thrilled to share the discoveries and joys with the UNIQLO team as we worked to reach the same goal.

How have the changing times influenced your designs?

Before the pandemic, I frequently travelled around Japan to meet with craftspeople and factories that specialise in heritage traditions. No longer able to travel long distances, I found myself moving from place to place on foot or bicycle. Naturally, I began gravitating towards items that provide comfort - such as non-restrictive clothing and easy walking shoes - things that add a sense of freedom and activity to my day. When designing clothes for Mame Kurogouchi, I seek inspiration in the small events and discoveries of daily life, and for this collaboration, I imagined the small, intimate moments of joy in the lives of women around the world, thinking about the design aspects that would make them shine.

How did you come up with the concept for this collection?

My wish in designing clothes is to give women an extra bit of confidence, to help them stand tall and proud as they go about their day. This collection is centred around the most intimate items in a woman’s closet, and I thought about which elements would best bring out a woman’s inner confidence and beauty. I wanted to create garments that would help each woman feel beautiful without worrying about anyone else’s standards. I pictured that special moment each morning, when a woman adorns herself with a piece from the collection and revels in the joy it brings.

What is your message to women around the world?

When I design clothes, I’m hoping for women around the world to enjoy more freedom in their day-to-day. If this collection helps to create a sense of liberation, freeing women to live more comfortably and actively, that brings me great joy. From the design sketch stages, I imagined comfortable garments that would inspire women to move. Big changes don’t happen in a day. The accumulation of small changes eventually leads to a significant shift. To know a garment is not only comfortable but looks beautiful and enhances your body’s curves adds a little ease to the day. The comfort and beauty of women are central to this collection, and if I can help bring a little joy to their every day, I can ask for nothing more.