December 29, 2011

Uniqlo + Orla Kiely: A Japanese-Irish Affair To Remember

Lately, there have been quite a few collaborations between retail stores and top fashion designers. I wonder if that's the result of the economy, when - [finally] - the designers recognize that they've been missing a huge chunk of the potentional customers, who could shop their designer collections at moderate prices.

Personally, I do like when designers collaborate with low-end stores, although we all understand that it's not the same to wear Versace from Versace high end collections and Versace from H&M collaboration, but the price of $199 vs. $2,999 does make a difference for the fashionistas, who can't spend all their salaries on a designer's items. So, we succumb to the 'collaborations' because we do want to be fab and stylish.

On the other hand, I'm always at owe with the notorious fashionistas - [think the It-Girls of the likes of Chloe Sevigne and Mary-Kate/Ashley Olsen] - who wear proudly both Forever21 and H&M items in the combination with Hugo Boss and Jason Wu, and they make it look so darn stylish! So, I say, don't underestimate the power of mix-and-matching, just do it right...

So, who is going shopping on the last day of this year? I am... because I'm dying to check out the 'vintage-style' collaboration of a very Irish designer - Orla Kiely - and very Japanese retail store - UNIQLO.

Yes, one more time Uniqlo is collaborating with a high fashion designer - [although, I do love their lines from the unknown Japanese designers]. Uniqlo's past designer collaborations include: Charlotte Ronson, Vena Cava, Jeffrey Costello, Robert Tagliapiertra, Zechia, Tiny Dinosaur, Suzuki Takayuki, Alexander Wang...

Why I say that it's going to be one interesting collaboration? That's because whoever knows Uniqlo - [like I do...] - knows that they've been staying very true to their clean cut clothing/accessories lines, done with a very Japanese-simplicity, while Kiely says that she's going to bring very much of her native "Ireland" into the clothing line for Uniqlo. Ireland and Japan? That's an interesting mix, don't you think so? Moreover, Orla herself says that her collection for Uniqlo reflects her nostalgia for the time periods of her 'youth' in 60s and 70s in Ireland..." a lot of it [collection] must come from her youth growing up in Ireland. Things that you maybe don't realize, you get later somehow, like her color taste or the nostalgia for the '60s and '70s."

By the way, not long ago at all that Kiely opened her first store in the Soho part of New York City. Before that her collections were sold in various boutiques across the nation, including quite a few in NYC and Brooklyn. I've been a big fan of her work, mainly because it's not something I'd wear, it's something that my mom used to wear in her 20s, which makes me very nostalgic for the time when my mom could relate to the fact of spending more on clothes and accessories than spending on food and other life necessities. Here's what I mean by that.

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