Alexander Wang x Uniqlo’s spring/summer 2019 Airism collection: Every piece from the collab and their prices
Hot N Cold
Things that come in pairs: Shoes, socks, earrings, AirPods, bangers and mash, Alexander Wang and Uniqlo. If you wanted more out of the previous Heattech range, we have exciting news: the New York-based designer is continuing his partnership with the Japanese retail giant — this time for a new Airism range.
And a bigger one too. The collection, using Uniqlo's Airism fabrics, includes T-shirts, slips, camis, tanks, bike shorts (yas), leggings, body suits and underwear for women; a smaller range of T-shirts, tanks and underwear is also released for men, all in Wang's signature "un-precious" aesthetic. Sleek, clean silhouettes in muted colours.
Promising to keep bodies cool on hot summer days, the women's pieces employ the sheerest-ever AIRism fabric that reportedly feels like second-skin, as well another proprietary, new, seamless type of Airism for underwear and shorts for comfort. Men's items incorporate the first-ever cotton blend Airism, which has a premium cotton finish and an Airism interior. At the press conference in Taipei, we chatted with Alexander Wang at the Uniqlo x Alexander Wang press conference about his relationship with the Japanese retailer, his thoughts on fashion collaborations, and his favourite pieces from the latest collection.
Do you have a personal relationship with Uniqlo?
Yes; I wear Uniqlo's underwear, socks, tees... I've been a fan of the brand for a very long time, prior to even having the first opportunity to work with Uniqlo. I have to really believe in a brand's values and products if I were to collaborate with them to create something new.
What do you think are the pros and cons of fashion collaborations?
There's no novelty in collaborations. If anything, that's the con about it, you know what I mean? I feel that if two brands are going to come together, first of all, there has to be mutual respect and authenticity on why they're coming together.
I have had many opportunities to do collaborations, and I'm also very humbled and honoured by the opportunities that I have because I get to work with leaders of their fields and their industries.
With Uniqlo, it's not just about doing a cheaper product; it's not about taking my label and my name and sticking on a T-shirt or underwear. That's why it took us a decade to come together again. We wanted to make sure what we were coming up with - in a very saturated conversation about collaborations - was something that could penetrate and create a new conversation point. And it was taking the idea of innerwear and underwear and intimates and marrying them with the innovation of new tech that has never been done before.
I don't think, in the space of traditional underwear, since Hanes and Calvin Klein put their logo on underwear bands, had there been real innovation in underwear. To that point, we were really excited to be able to put this out in the market. I felt like there was true excitement to be able to work in that category.
Have you had a hand in the process of fabrication?
That's the problem when working with me. [Laughs] When I work on something, I am 150 percent committed through the whole entire process - from the creation of the product; from fabric research to finishing to how much we can sell it for. That's actually something that I'm incredibly involved in. I'm not snobbish to only be creating designer luxury; I'm price agnostic. So when I'm working with a brand on, say, a soda, or different lifestyle things, I want to be able to see how the brand can kind of filter through different mediums.
Are there any funny interesting anecdotes on your experience working with Uniqlo?
Yuki Katsuda, the Global Head of Research and Design at Uniqlo, is very persistent. We've known each other for over a decade, and he has called me — time and time again — asking, "You ready to do something?" I'm like, "Mmmmmm..." [Laughs]
Also, when you first meet Mr Yanai, the founder of Uniqlo, you might think, ‘oh very intimidating'. But Mr Yanai is actually very warm, and has an incredible sense of humour. Not a lot of people know this. And having a sense of humour is so important to me when I'm working or collaborating with someone.
Has Mr Katsuda pursued you to join the company?
[Laughs] He offered me three floors of the office the other day! Very tempting. I went to his office and I'm like, ‘Oh this is nice...' It's like a penthouse!
How do you differentiate your own label with the Uniqlo collections?
I wanted to work on Heattech and Airism — how to expand them not just with the material but how they are constructed and how they are finished. That kind of fabric innovation is something that I can't do outside of Uniqlo.
A lot of times, sportswear are very much made to look like sportswear. All the bodymapping... it's very technical. I wanted the innovation and performance of the fabric to be unrecognisable. That's why, for most of the pieces, you can put it on and you're not going to be like, ‘oh my god, I'm wearing sportswear or performance wear and I look like I'm going to the gym. The pieces are so nuanced, with a sensuality to them. I don't want to them them so literal. We wanted the characteristics of this collaboration to be about: to be fluid.
Who is the man and woman you're designing for?
It sounds cliché but I design for the modern lifestyle. In today's world, the working uniform isn't the suit anymore. The millennial generation rarely have a nine-to-five job. They are probably doing three to four freelance gigs; they're probably going from work to drinks with friends and gym in the middle of the day. Their clothes need to be easily foldable, washable, doesn't wrinkle and take them from day to night.
What are your favourite pieces in the latest collection?
Many of the pieces are intimate wear, so you can wear them to go to bed, but there are a lot of those you can also wear to go out at night. That's why I love the little crop tops and the little bike shorts. Someone who's going to the gym can wear that for its performance aspect, but you can also dress it up with heels to go out and dance all night with your friends.
The T-shirt is also another favourite. You know I live and breathe in T-shirts. I created this with a raw hem (at the sleeves) with this kind of neckline because I want people to wake up, put it on, go to the gym, work out with it (thanks to its circular knit with moisture-wicking qualities) and still able to wear it out at night without looking like you've gone from gym to bar. It can take you to so many different scenarios.
Below, the full women's collection with prices:
And the men's:
The Uniqlo and Alexander Wang collection will be rolled out from 12 April. The full range will be available online and at Orchard Central Global Flagship Store. Selected items will be available at all Uniqlo stores.
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