This Is Why Major Designers Want to Work With Uniqlo

How Uniqlo's collaboration with Christopher Lemaire came about.

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Complex Original

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Uniqlo is famous for creating some of the best basics on the market with price tags that are just as easy on the eyes and wallet. The brand's devotion to quality is what has garnered the attention of some big name designers—like former Hermès creative director Christophe Lemaire, who is currently working with Uniqlo on a linereports Elle.

Uniqlo's collaboration with Lemaire, as well as its former partnerships with Jil Sanders and Helmut Lang's Alexandre Plokhov, all speak to the brand's desire to create the cleanest product possible. "It's easy to say you want to create beautiful, simple designs, but it's a very difficult challenge," Uniqlo's head of research and design Yuki Katsuta, tells Elle.

Katsuta says that Uniqlo has gained designers' trust by taking the necessary time required to create a collection. "If we start skipping important processes in production, designers will start to feel uncomfortable working with us," he explains. "Our process is almost the same as a luxury brand's." He holds up Uniqlo's collaboration with Sanders as a testament to the brand's process. "She worked with us for three years, and she might not have if she were uncomfortable with how we do things," he says.

That commitment to quality carries over into the fabrics. Uniqlo's patented HeatTech and AirWear technologies utilize the same materials that are used in "Formula 1 racing cars and Boeing jets,"  John Jay, Uniqlo's president of global creative, says. 

If you consider that Hermès is best known for creating elegant products made out of the finest materials, Lemaire has a ton of expertise that will help Uniqlo achieve its goal. "When we saw [Lemaire's] ability and talent, that's why we started working together," Katsuta says. 

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