Lifewear. Simple made better. These aren’t words from some nomadic preacher but from one of the top minds of the world’s retail industry: John Jay, Uniqlo’s president of global creative.
Speaking to him last December at the heart of Tokyo to officially preview Uniqlo’s spring-summer 2016 campaign, it felt like a master class in not only Uniqlo’s creative and brand philosophy but the industry as a whole. If you’ve noticed a kind of resurgence for the Japanese retail brand these last few years, chances are John Jay has had something to do with it.
Before, the best way to describe Uniqlo was that they sold “casual wear with a touch of fashion.” There’s nothing wrong with that statement, but there’s nothing truly exciting about it either. You can apply that line to almost 90 percent of retail brands. It was only a couple of years ago that Uniqlo took notice and started to really dig deep and find what it is that they could best pour their blood, sweat and tears into. “Lifewear has always been what we made but we didn’t have a name for it back then… We didn’t have that idea,’ says John Jay.