Key to Uniqlo casual wear

  • Living
  • Thursday, 23 Jan 2014

Agricultural wear that Naoki Takizawa designed as a memorial project to commemorate Yanmar Co’s 100th anniversary.

The designer of popular Japanese brand Uniqlo explains the difficulty of simplicity.

JAPAN’S leading fast-fashion retailer, Uniqlo Co. now has 1,300 stores in 14 countries and territories. Naoki Takizawa, 53, is the design director for the brand, which has annual sales exceeding ¥900 billion (RM28mil). He has designed for the firm since 2011.

Uniqlo’s casual lifestyle designs must appeal to people of all ages and nationalities, and be suited to mass production. This is why it’s very difficult to design casual wear, according to Takizawa, whose motto is “subtractive designs,” meaning he reduces the various elements comprising clothes to their simplest form and creates a product out of the style that emerges from them.

“This process requires courage, because it makes me worry if it’s all right to be this simple,” Takizawa said.

For instance, regarding the T-shirts designed for the 2014 spring/summer collection, Takizawa widened the cut of the V-neck for women’s shirts by several millimetres to make women’s necks look longer and more beautiful.

Simplicity speaks: Uniqlo designer Naoki Takizawa at an exhibition hall for the company’s 2014 spring/ summer collection. – Photos from The Yomiuri Shimbun

When deciding on the colours, he researched various countries and territories to find hues that would suit the skintones of various races.

Takizawa is a veteran designer who has shown his collections in Paris and other fashion capitals. He designed Issay Miyake’s menswear from 1993, and from 1999 to 2006 he did its women’s lines as well. At that time, Takizawa put more emphasis on “designs of addition” to compete with luxury brands in Europe and the United States.

However, Takizawa was fond of casual clothes such as jeans – originally used as work uniforms – and T-shirts, which used to be worn as underwear.

“They’re durable, comfortable and liked by all generations. These clothes can be created by drawing on daily life. I want to design such ultimate casual clothes,” he said.

Takizawa’s approach toward designing clothes is highly respected, and he is in strong demand from various industries.

After becoming independent from Issay Miyake in 2007, Takizawa served as a special-appointment professor at University of Tokyo’s University Museum to study designs, and created uniforms for hospital staff. Last year, he designed farm work uniforms for Yanmar Co, an agriculture and construction machine maker.

Takizawa said he hopes his designs can make the lives of those who wear them more comfortable. – The Yomiuri Shimbun/Asia News Network

Related story:

Fashionable faces of Uniqlo's Spring collection

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Key to Uniqlo casual wear


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