In the opinion of The Style Examiner, the Japanese conglomerate of style Uniqlo is currently one of the most exciting high-street brands. Not only does it offer basic and yet stylish staple garments and accessories, but it has developed interesting lines and partnerships that have justified its deserved commercial growth and success.
Uniqlo is owned by the Fast Retailing Group, a sartorial power house founded in 1963 by Tadashi Yanai that also owns the brands Comptoir des Cottoniers, Helmut Lang, and Theory. These and other labels can be purchased in over 2,000 retailers with annual net sales of over 800 billion Yen (10 billion US Dollars). Uniqlo started in 1984 in Hiroshima, Japan, under the name Unique Clothing Warehouse and opened its first shop abroad in London in 2011. Since then, it has been a remarkable phenomenon in the fashion world and it currently boasts 843 stores in Japan and 181 stores in other countries (including China, France, Hong Kong, Korea, Malaysia, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, UK, and USA), playing the biggest role in generating revenues for the Fast Retailing Group.
The label took one giant step forward in March 2009, when it signed a contract with fashion designer Jil Sander and offered her a position as design consultant. Sander’s minimal style allied to the focus on quality fabrics lead to the creation of the very popular +J label collections. At The Style Examiner we have been big fans of Sander’s biannual ranges for Uniqlo and have always looked forward to seeing the smart garments and accessories in store.
The rumours that Jil Sander may be stopping her partnership with Uniqlo in the near future made us revisit the brand’s menswear lookbook for Autumn/Winter 2011. Herewith, our recommended favourite five pieces for this season.