Uniqlo U collections are created at UNIQLO's R&D centre, located in the 1st arrondissement of Paris. Here, Artistic Director Christophe Lemaire alongside the diverse team of designers and pattern cutters all collaborate to perfect each piece included in the collection. This atelier is one of UNIQLO's global design hubs which ensures an international perspective on clothing created to make everyone’s life better.
It might come as a surprise that the space in which each of the Uniqlo U collections is created is not only in the middle of Paris, home to high fashion, but also functions as a design atelier in the traditional sense of the word. Each collection is methodically researched and prototyped over months of a rigorous development process. The quiet peacefulness that presides over the studio is a mark of the focused dedication that the creative team contributes to their work.
Because Uniqlo U is about reimagining everyday clothing, each collection builds on existing garments as the base and is further inspired by research into vintage clothing as well as contemporary reference points. Material innovation for us means engineering textiles that create comfort, enhance ease and work hard in ensuring optimum performance so that you have to worry less about the clothing you wear. Hence, collaboration with clothmakers around the world who specialise in different techniques is an essential part of our design method. Uniqlo U is characterised by its distinctive colour language, defined by our Artistic Director’s strive towards finding the perfect shades. This season, the womenswear collection is dusted with powdery tones and the menswear palette palette leans more towards warm and rusty hues.
The small design team that works in the atelier includes people from around the world, each bringing their global perspectives and expert insights into the process of building a collection. Sarah-Linh Tran has also joined the team and now consults for the womenswear line. With Japanese precision, the fit and cut of each garment is prototyped and then refined by a team of pattern cutters and tailors working alongside menswear and womenswear designers. Knitwear is developed with a mixture of traditional and innovative craft techniques. And, denim design is informed by state-of-the-art technologies and specialist knowledge cultivated at the Jean Innovation Centre in Los Angeles. With this collaborative set up, the Uniqlo U team can take a responsive approach to new product development yet dedicate space to perfect each garment before it leaves the atelier.