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Uniqlo announces collaborations with KAWS

By Kristopher Fraser

Feb 24, 2016

Uniqlo has announced their collaboration line for UT (Uniqlo T-shirts) with artist KAWS. UT is part of LifeWear, a concept that was introduced in 2003 with the goal of enhancing individual lifestyles by delivering quality clothing that is functional in design and versatile to wear.

Brooklyn-based artist KAWS is a celebrated talent who made a name for himself in New York City, with his subversions of images helping him gain critical acclaim. His work can be found in some of the most respected museums and galleries around the world including the Brooklyn Museum, England's Yorkshire Sculpture Park, and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. His body of work includes street art, graphic and product design, paintings, murals, and large scale sculptures.

In a statement, KAWS said “I have always enjoyed working in different medium, whether it be plastic toys, painting, bronze sculpture, or graphic design. UT is a cool canvas for making my artwork available to people virtually everywhere. I have enjoyed working with the Uniqlo team whose enthusiasm is unparalleled. It is great to be part of the amazing UT platform of my friend and fellow artist NIGO.”

Uniqlo and KAWS collaborate for Uniqlo T-shirts UT Creative Director NIGO said "KAWS has been a friend of mine for more than 20 years, and I’m very happy to collaborate with him for our 2016 UT items. I’m certain that the collection will be a hit around the world. I’ve created things with KAWS quite a few times before, and we’ve got a lot of respect for each other. This project was no exception. We went through a ton of ideas to come up with some great results. I think the T-shirts and other items in the collection reflect KAWS’s amazing worldview.”

In the past, UT has featured pop culture graphics in collaborations with SPRZ NY (Surprise New York), the global project which features a collection of modern art-inspired fashion items, including a MOMA collaboration. The goal for this KAWS collaboration is to fuse fashion with authentic pop culture.

Details involving the price points for the collection and what stores it will be sold at will be released in March.

With their goal to become the world's largest fashion company by 2020, every collaboration helps make a bit of difference in Uniqlo's quest for business growth. This season also marks the return of Uniqlo's Lemaire collaboration, Ines de la Fressange collaboration, and the Carine Roitfeld collaboration. While the company doesn't particularly aim for doing collaborations with household names and figures the way their competitors like H&M do, their collaboration items still go flying off the shelves and hangers. The Lemaire collaboration last fall practically sold out by the December period. If history repeats itself, this collaboration with KAWS will also be a top seller.