Following the success of Christophe Lemaire's fall and spring capsule collections for Japanese retailer Uniqlo, the global apparel brand has named the designer its new artistic director. Lemaire will head up a new Uniqlo research and development center in Paris and design a completely new line called Uniqlo U — the first collection of which will debut during Paris Couture week in July and hit stores in the fall.
Lemaire designed his previous Uniqlo collections with partner Sarah-Linh Tran, the co-designer of his eponymous luxury label. The new contract for Uniqlo U line is with Lemaire on an individual basis, said a representative for Uniqlo, but it's possible Tran will be involved at his discretion.
The first two Uniqlo & Lemaire collections were a hit with shoppers attracted to the selection of simple but sophisticated knits, smock dresses, wide-leg pants and more, and it furthered the fast fashion retailer's goal of providing solid and wearable design. "We're just looking for like-minded people that want to improve people's lives through clothing," said Uniqlo USA's CMO & Director of Brand Marketing Justin Kerr in October. "[Lemaire and Tran] were about, let me make a beautiful garment that you can wear every day and fall in love with over and over again." Lemaire echoed that ethos before the spring collection launched in March. "We start from reality because we are interested in creating good clothes... So it starts from very concrete things: what we need everyday to wear, what we'd like to have in our wardrobes, the functionality of it, how to improve the comfort."
Note: This article has been updated with a confirmation and comment from Uniqlo.