the Shochiku Kabuki x Uniqlo Project
would you dig it?
Imagine a German highstreet retailer would dig in his own country's cultural heritage and bring up a Baroque collection to their worldwide stores - would you dig it? - It didn't happen yet, but Japanese retailer Uniqlo just blaized this trail. Working in partnership with Shochiku Kabuki – the principal production company behind the traditional Japanese performance art of ‘Kabuki’ – the clothing brand Uniqlo has produced a capsule collection inspired by the art form and its costuming which has its origin in the Edo period (1603-1868). Kabuki remains a well-respected entertainment form in Uniqlo’s homeland of Japan, being added to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list in 2005.
Ichikawa Ennosuke IV, one of Kabuki’s most popular stars, will serve as the collection’s Project Ambassador and hopes to bring the “traditional world of performance art to the world of international pop culture”. UT Creative Director NIGO evaluated the designs, cuts and materials under supervision from Shochiku and Ennosuke IV. Inspired by Kabuki’s beautiful costumes and elaborate stage make-up, the design motifs also include the crests and patterns of Omodaka-ya, the name of the guild or acting house to which Ennosuke belongs. The new collection has been launched on March 20 with a celebration event in the 'Capital of Pop Culture' - just to quote Tadashi Yanai, UNIQLO President and CEO in his speech in Paris.
For men, the capsule line comprises 15 T-shirts and 12 pairs of ‘steteco’ – relaxed-fit, wide leg shorts – each incorporating vibrant, Eastern-inspired prints. From graphic swirls to more intricate, detailed patterns, each motif has been adapted directly from traditional costuming worn by Kabuki performers
If you live in Berlin and like to shop physically, go to Uniqlo's Flagship store at Tauentzienstrasse at the heart of Westberlin.