It’s a bit of a Tale of Two Cities, or rather two countries, Italy and Japan. But together, Rossi and Uniqlo have executed a co-operative effort of design, and it won’t be long before this window in the NYC Global Flagship store of Uniqlo will be graced with private label designs from Rossi1931.
Fast Retailing, Japan’s largest specialty store retailer of private label apparel is growing its business with its flagship brand, UNIQLO, into a behemoth. It has set an ambitious target of becoming the largest apparel retailer in the world and increasing its sales to $ 5 trillion by 2020.
Since March 1949, a Japan-based company, called Ogori Shōji had been operating men’s clothing shops called Men’s Shop OS in Ube, Yamaguchi.
In May 1984, owner, Mr. Tadashi Yanai who succeeded his father, opened a unisex casual wear store in Naka-ku, Hiroshima under the name Unique Clothing Warehouse. It was at this time that the name Uniqlo was born as an abbreviation of “unique clothing”. In September 1991, the name of the company was changed from Ogori Shōji to Fast Retailing, and by 1994, there were over 100 Uniqlo stores operating throughout Japan.
Fast forward to today: They have 853 stores in Japan and 633 stores internationally in 16 countries such as Taiwan, China and South Korea. They have currently 39 stores in the US, (with hopes of having 200 by 2020) 10 in the UK, and 2 in Canada. They plan to become the world’s largest apparel retailer with hopes of surpassing H &M, Zara and The Gap.
The company offers clothing basics, but basics that are current, which respond to what’s going on today in art and design. Kino-bi means function and beauty, joined together. The clothing is presented in an organized rational manner and that creates an artistic pattern and rhythm.
Mass appeal permeates Uniqlo’s brand, underscored by its tagline, “Made for All.” The brand aims to design low-cost garments with high-fashion sensibility, yielding clothes that can complement both a faded pair of jeans and a $2,500 Italian sport coat.
“UNIQLO clothes are MADE FOR ALL–highly finished elements of style in clothes that suit your values wherever you live. This unique concept of clothes sets us apart from apparel companies whose sole purpose is the pursuit of fashion trends.” Yanai Tadashi
The driving idea is to maintain a simple style such that Uniqlo’s clothes can blend with apparel made by other designers, He wants to drive fashion trends, he says, not merely imitate the designs of others.
The company is beloved by fashionistas looking for a bit of tech in their clothing. And, that is what Uniqlo delivers; unlike competitors whose cotton T-shirts can seem like generic commodities, Uniqlo has invested a lot in fabric technology designs like Heattech, which generates and retains heat, AIRism which keeps you cool in the summer,( using the company’s advanced fiber called Cupro) and an ultra-lightweight down. Its garments better resemble products from tech-savvy merchants like Nike or Lululemon.
The company works with a plethora of designers for both its clothing and artistic store concepts for both women and men. The T shirt range alone has its own concept store, UT, a somewhat futuristic store for T-shirt’s. The project features a limited-edition collection of T-shirts designed by renowned artists, designers, photographers and musicians. Pharrell Williams released a collection for Uniqlo in April 2014 entitled, i am OTHER.
To that end, Rossi1931 was approached last year to do designs for Uniqlo’s fashion T- shirts. We are extremely honored and excited that they have chosen our trademark designs.
A recent statement put out by Uniqlo……….. ”For the first time, Rossi 1931, a luxury stationary brand founded in1931, joins the UT lineup! In Florentine style, even classic floral patterns are trendy and fun. Cute and casual, these UTs will make you feel as though you’ve just taken a little trip to Europe.”
In addition to the UT‘s designs by Rossi, our private label designs have been chosen for Uniqlo’s Spring/Summer 2015 collection. These designs will be featured on dresses, T- shirt dresses and sleeveless tank top dresses.
Our designs, part of the private Rossi archives, consist of thousands of traditional, vintage and contemporary objects and themes. All can be applied to a multitude of merchandise categories, such as apparel, handbags, small leather goods, items for home and garden, interior design and more. Rossi’s design office has many years of experience and a solid know-how for what necessitates developing private label products above and beyond paper. Many major companies have already entrusted us with their projects. We are thrilled that Uniqlo has, as well.
The creative directors of Uniqlo work with the designers. Each year a select group of emerging designers are catapulted into the high street spotlight with Uniqlo’s ‘Designer Invitation Project’, which will see capsule collections from eight different up-and-coming names. Prices generally range from $19.90 to $39.90 for designer pieces including jackets, pants, cardigans, short sleeve sweaters, coats, sleeveless dresses, tank tops and skirts.
Customer opinions and needs play a vital role in UNIQLO’s product development. The UNIQLO Customer Center receives approximately 70,000 comments from customers annually.
“Can clothing change the world? UNIQLO not only believes it can.
We’re already doing it. “
For more on Uniqlo, go to www.uniqlo.com