UNIQLO’s apparel comes from our Japanese values of simplicity, quality and longevity: Mr Yuki Katsuta, Global R&D Head at UNIQLO
Ahead of the global brand’s India debut in October 2019, we spoke with Mr Yuki Katsuta, Global R&D Head at UNIQLO and Group Senior VP at Fast Retailing, UNIQLO’s parent company.Updated: Aug 10, 2019, 15:51 IST
“Clothes maketh the man”, said an age-old proverb. There couldn’t be anything that was so aptly said about the evolving human beings that we are. If, however, we were to alter the proverb a little, it would probably read clothes maketh the woman and the man. Popular clothing brand, UNIQLO, established in Japan in 1984, believes in this philosophy. They believe that style comes to a person naturally and what they create is adaptable according to people’s individual tastes and choices. Food, a home, and clothes are the basic requirements for a human and the brand meets these requirements through their LifeWear commitment.
LifeWear roughly translates into apparel available in a variety of colours and styles, and are comfortable for people of all ages to wear across the different domains of life. UNIQLO oversees the entire process of their clothes-making and in doing so, embraces both shun and kino-bi. Shun means timing but at the same time also means a current trend. Kino-bi means function and beauty, which when joined together creates an artistic pattern and rhythm.
Including innovations such as HEATTECH, AIRism, Ultra Light Down, Ultra Stretch Jeans, and more, UNIQLO has also been partnering with external designers along with introducing a new collaboration every season. The first of the three UNIQLO stores will open in October 2019 in New Delhi, India.
In accordance with the brand’s unique LifeWear commitment, used clothing is collected from customers at their stores to give products a second life. Through their partnership with the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees), these items are then delivered to refugees and those who face adverse situations around the world.
Ahead of the global brand’s India debut, we spoke with Mr Yuki Katsuta, Global R&D Head at UNIQLO and Group Senior VP at Fast Retailing, UNIQLO’s parent company.
How would you describe UNIQLO’s motto for its clothing line? What was your inspiration and idea behind the clothing range?
UNIQLO’s apparel comes from our Japanese values of simplicity, quality and longevity. Designed to be of the time and for the time, our clothing offers best in fit and fabric, while at the same time it is affordable and accessible to all. We wish to offer customers apparel that is constantly being innovated, bringing warmth, more lightness, improved design and better comfort to their lives. In short, we believe that UNIQLO is “Simple Made Better.”
Are you planning to expand the clothing range from basics in the future?
UNIQLO LifeWear is clothing designed to make people’s life better - it is inspired by life’s needs, with quality natural fabrics and highly functional materials that offer a practical sense of beauty. At the same time, our LifeWear serves as building blocks to suits everyone’s different needs and lifestyles. Even if our range is centred on basics, or core essentials as we call them, we constantly improve it, offering new colours, silhouettes, styles, and more.
In the world of fast fashion, what shelf do you see your clothing range occupying in the fashion world?
UNIQLO is often referred to as “fast fashion,” although we are not. UNIQLO stands for high quality, highly functional, versatile and affordable clothes that give pleasure to people of all ages. LifeWear is our philosophy of what we do. It is our commitment to our customers to provide daily wear that meets their various lifestyles. Our starting point is based on the real-life of people everywhere, and of all ages. Our mission is to enrich lives through truly great clothing that is functional in design and versatile to wear. In short, we believe in LifeWear for all.
What is it about your clothing range which distinguishes it from your contemporaries in the market?
Our LifeWear concept distinguishes us from our contemporaries in the market. LifeWear is simple, high quality, everyday clothing with a practical sense of beauty. And these can be seen in our iconic products from functional wear including HEATTECH, AIRism, Ultra Light Down, to premium natural fabrics, like Knitwear, Jeans and Linen…etc. We hope that Indian customers will embrace the LifeWear concept, and we look forward to opening our first store in Delhi in October.
What are the primary trends that UNIQLO is currently focusing on? 5 trends that the brand recommends.
UNIQLO produces clothing based on our unique “LifeWear” philosophy. It is clothing that makes everyone’s life better. Rather than pursuing trends, our clothing is inspired by life’s needs and continues to evolve by looking ahead. Take 2019 Fall-Winter collection as an example, the following are some items that we recommend which uses innovative technology and exceptional natural material:
- UNIQLO’s famous Ultra-Light Down jacket, which is extremely light and easy to carry around; a perfect companion for one and a great offering to beat the Delhi winters.
- Another must is HEATTECH innerwear, through its special thread and weaving; can absorb the body’s moisture and convert it into heat, which gets trapped within the air pockets of the fibres. This is perfect for travellers to cold countries when you need to stay warm without bulking up with many layers.
-Also, Knitwear which is made with exceptional materials which are 100% natural and uses innovative Japanese technology. Cashmere, Lamb’s Wool, 3D Knit and Extra Fine Merino wool are all high-quality products of UNIQLO.