Uniqlo’s creative director Naoki Takizawa has revealed the secrets behind his incredible transformation of the high-street fashion store.
Takizawa was appointed as creative director of Uniqlo last year, and has since been set on changing the Japanese clothing brands utilitarian democratic style of fashion, in a bid to bring luxurious simple fashion to the masses.
Prior to his collaboration with Uniqlo, Takizawa worked as creative director of designer fashion brands Issy Miyake and Halmut Lang.
Recently speaking to US Vogue Takizawa discussed how fashion has developed since the start of the career: “Fashion has changed so much since I started my career. In the Eighties, wearing designer labels was a way of telling people that you belonged to a certain group – a way of showing your status. But, that all changed in the Nineties and Noughties – practicality and comfort became more important, as did discretion. Wearing a white T-shirt and jeans was enough, perhaps teamed with an expensive handbag. That’s where Uniqlo filled a gap – it was ‘Made For All’ like the tagline reads.”
Uniqlo is known and loved for it’s wearable yet fashionable items of clothing that can be used to co-ordinate with shoppers existing pieces. Takizawa admitted to the magazine that striking this balance is not as simple as you would expect: “If the piece is too simple, then the customer won’t buy it. You need a good detail, nothing too much, but there needs to be something there. When Uniqlo’s founder, Tadashi (Yanai), first approached me about the job, he told me that he respected my work, but that I should consider using my skills on a broader scale. ‘Your vision is so narrow,’ he said. I thought that it would be a huge challenge coming from the luxury market, but seeing the factories and the millions of items that are made there is incredible. I have never designed for so many people in my life.”
Whilst it would seem that working as a creative director for high-street brand Uniqlo would be a stark contrast from working for high-fashion designer brands, Takizawa insists that there are more similarities than many would expect. Takizawa, explained: “I have always wanted to bring clothes to everyone. But now I create what they need. I want to make you comfortable – nothing should be stiff; I want to change your mood. Why do you drink water? To make you feel refreshed? Why do you put on a certain outfit? Because it makes you feel a certain way. People will always be my inspiration.”