Interview with Christophe Lemaire

Interview with Christophe Lemaire

What is the core concept of the collection this season for Spring/Summer 2022?

The concept of Uniqlo U is still the same. It’s about creating functional, universal, essential pieces that free movement, are designed to last and bring solutions to everyday life. This is in accordance with the concept of Uniqlo, which is LifeWear. So there are no new concepts, but different vibes, season after season. This season was very much about creating better fabrication, and trying to bring a fresh twist.

How does the Uniqlo U SS22 collection speak to the time we’re living in today?

More than ever, the philosophy behind Uniqlo U and Uniqlo in general is relevant today. It’s about creating good clothes that are utilitarian, desirable and creating pieces that you want to keep and last a long time — and hopefully become an accomplice of your wardrobe. What’s happening today is that everyone realizes, we don’t need so many clothes. We don’t need so many objects around us. We need the right ones. And this is what we’re trying to do.

Many of the clothes in this collection are designed for commuting and to be flexible in an urban environment. How do you commute to work?

Well, commuting, it’s interesting to see how habits have changed. And recently, in every big city, like here in Paris, we have a big transformation in the way we commute with the appearance of more and more bikes. I myself am biking to work, because at the end of the day, it’s much easier to go from one place to the other in a quick and healthy way. The whole team had this in mind more and more. For instance, we tried to design practical bags, different coats that are not too long, had slits on the side, and had the necessity of hoods and protection pieces for unfortunate weather or chilly days.

Can you tell us about the key pieces in the collection, and what makes them ideal for city life?

We designed one of the key pieces for both men and women. It’s interesting to know that more and more, this unisex dimension that we always believed in is actually working. One example is the roomy, boxy blouson. It’s a very simple rain blouson but quite special by the volume. It’s a little bit oversized, with the hood integrated in the collar and a very specific crispy, water-repellent cotton. And what we always find interesting is treating these iconic pieces again with a twist in the material, volume and colors. We came up with very interesting faded colors, color neutrals—there is a range that’s a bit unusual, that like very much.

What is the color range this season, and why did the team gravitate towards those colors?

We tried to create colors that we can easily match and that are not too loud. It’s really about subtlety and trying to find interesting neutrals that are as refined as possible. So it’s very much about colored neutrals, sage green, sands, charcoal, and also faded sunsets, but also highlights of bright orange or vermillion. And always shades of black, charcoals, shades of whites, whites with a little bit of green in it.

Oftentimes, it’s the details that make a good garment great. Of course, we don’t mean things that are physically small, but the designer’s choice to make the sleeve wider in a certain area, or the placement of a pocket, etc. Can you tell us about some of your favorite details in this collection? And what makes the pieces in this collection “essentials with a point of view?”