When Uniqlo first arrived in the UK back in the early noughties, many regarded it solely as a new competitor to the ongoing and totally unofficial ‘best basics on the high street’ competition; on recommendation from friends who’d stopped by the brand’s Japanese stores, this was supposedly the new land of crew neck tee dreams.
But a lot can change in 15 years, and regular collaborations with the likes of Pharrell and most recently Kaws have ensured its crown didn’t rest simply with a single piece of cotton.
Announced today, the grime artist is one of six new faces joining a long and respected list of campaign stars, brought in to front ‘This Way to Utopia’, launching in tandem with the reopening on 18th March of Uniqlo’s Oxford Street store: now a global flagship.
Representing the diversity of the capital – “we believe ‘utopia’ is more than just a place,” says the brand’s John Jay (Fast Retailing President of Creative Global), “it is a means for self-expression, through design, creativity and cultural diversity” – the BBK rapper is joined by Muslim designer/visual artist/blogger and Uniqlo collaborator Hana Tajima, the transwoman model, activist and DJ, Munroe Bergdorf, and DJ and producer Benji B. Filmmaker and visual artist Sean Frank and Cate Underwood, a photographer and model, conclude the line-up.
The news co-insides with two other heavyweight projects from the brand, as it joins Tate Modern as the official sponsor of the gallery’s June relaunch (expect ‘Uniqlo Fridays’ to rival other late night museum walkabouts) and a host of in-store curation from the Tate.
Elsewhere radio station NTS joins the party with a series of monthly events to be held at the shop, including come summer a rooftop BBQ, naturally.