Ja­panese brand dis­plays Pi­noy-in­spired de­signs

Lo­cal color sees print on graphic t-shirts

Sun.Star Cebu Weekend - - Contents -

WHEN Uniqlo opened its doors to shop­pers at SM City Cebu last month, lit­tle did any­one know that it would be one of the most-cel­e­brated re­tail events in Cebu in re­cent mem­ory.

Even days af­ter the open­ing, pa­trons from di­verse back­grounds con­tin­ued to queue at the cashiers’ area, snap­ping up wear­able items by the bas­ket­ful. Ap­par­ently, the Ja­panese cloth­ing re­tailer’s brand of fash­ion ap­pealed to Ce­buanos, prod­ucts

that Uniqlo Philip­pines Chief Op­er­at­ing Of­fi­cer Kat­sumi Kub­ota de­scribed as be­ing “an­chored on sim­plic­ity, qual­ity and longevity.” Kub­ota summed it all up: “Uniqlo is life wear.”

True enough, the racks and shelves housed in­side the 1,000-square-me­ter store dis­played value-for-money items with a sub­dued and re­laxed cos­mopoli­tan feel.

And then there’s the row of shirts with prints that are all too fa­mil­iar but are the last de­signs you’d ex­pect to see from an in­ter­na­tional re­tailer: iconic Filipino im­ages like the jeep­ney and the sor­betes, as well as a food chain mas­cot and a clas­sic brew, all home­grown and loved by Pi­noys the world over.

It turns out that the graphic t-shirts bear­ing the de­signs are part of Uniqlo’s

South East Asia Cre­ators (SEAC) line, which fea­tures award- win­ning de­sign­ers and de­sign teams from the Philip­pines, Thai­land and Malaysia.

From the Philip­pines, Uniqlo picked de­signs from graphic de­sign stu­dio Team Manila and from Dan Matutina. Team Manila, which car­ries an im­pres­sive port­fo­lio of award­win­ning works from print and broad­cast, is the brain­child of Jowee Alviar and Ray­mund Punzalan. Dan, an award-win­ning il­lus­tra­tor whose style can be de­scribed as a mix of hand­made and dig­i­tal, mod­ern and retro, is also the founder of Plus63 De­sign Co.

The lo­cal color that Uniqlo’s SEAC line brings makes the brand even more en­dear­ing. Hope­fully, de­signs from one of the world’s emerg­ing de­sign cap­i­tals, Cebu, will also see print on the brand’s graphic tees.

FIRST BRANCH. Af­ter years of wait­ing, shop­pers flock to Uniqlo’s first store in Cebu. The Ja­panese cloth­ing re­tailer is plan­ning 10 more branches in the next five years.

TEE SUR­PRISE. Iconic Filipino im­ages like those of a food chain mas­cot and a clas­sic brew are among the de­signs that catch the eye of Ce­buano shop­pers in Uniqlo’s first store in Cebu.

LIFEWEAR. Uniqlo held a fash­ion show at the SM City North Wing as part of pre-open­ing ac­tiv­i­ties last Oct. 21 to launch its first branch in Cebu.

PHILIP­PINES REP­RE­SENT. De­signs from TeamManila and Dan Matutina are among those that see print in Uniqlo’s SEAC South East Asia Cre­ators (SEAC) line of graphic t-shirts.

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