Uniqlo and Jil Sander renew partnership for new collaboration

Uniqlo has revived its collaboration with German designer Jil Sander. First launched in 2009, it ran for just two years when the partnership ended in 2011.

Ms Sander, who exited the brand she founded in 1968 for a third time in 2013, has remained largely out of fashion’s view in her hometown Hamburg. Known for her purist sensibilities and understated approach to luxury, Sander’s designs spanned 6 decades and she remains one of the most influential designers of today.

Uniqlo didn’t reveal details about the collection, except that her forward-thinking designs would be back for fall under its J+ label.

Of the collaboration, Sander said Uniqlo has a lot of experience and great knowledge of manufacturing, citing the production possibilities as endless and inspiring. “This includes the well-oiled logistics, the infusion with Japanese culture and true mastership of detail,” she said.

When asked about inspiring images behind the designs, Sander said: “I do not work with visions or muses, neither with a mood board only. My creativity relies on the fitting and experimenting with fabrics. I exclude and at the same time push in certain directions. My eyes are fine-tuned to the emerging shape.

Sander did reveal today’s zeitgeist calls for comfort and consideration in clothes, something her customer base will expect from the new range.

“We are tired of certain forms which we associate with a past that now seems long ago,” Sander said. “The material and production techniques develop as well. New fabrics ask for new solutions, for different cuts and patterns. Without necessarily being able to explain the zeitgeist, I can sense the need for contemporary sophistication. I feel today’s magnetisms, tensions and harmonies.”

Fashion democracy of the highest order

The initial collaboration between Sander and Uniqlo was more than your average pairing up of luxury brand with a high street giant. There was authenticity in craft, technical prowess in design, and most importantly it was available for a price. It was fashion democracy of the highest order, something novel in the marketing-driven world of brand collabs.

In 1995, Sander was awarded the Bundesverdienstkreuz, Germany’s highest honor, in recognition of her contribution to the public good. In 2009, she released the +J collection with Uniqlo under its Lifewear umbrella, which revolved around the concept “Open the Future,” clearing the way for new possibilities in clothing. The collection wrapped up in 2011 and was sorely missed.

Image courtesy Uniqlo

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