Christophe Lemaire and Sarah-Linh Tran's Paris-based label Lemaire may be one of the more understated (albeit chicest) presentations on the Paris Fashion Week calendar. But it also has the support of Japanese mega-retailer Uniqlo and its owner, the multi-billion-dollar conglomerate Fast Retailing. Lemaire and Uniqlo's relationship dates back to 2015, when the former debuted its first capsule collection for the latter, and a second collaboration followed in 2016. Later that year, Christophe Lemaire also signed on as artistic director of Uniqlo's Paris R&D Center, as well as the designer of the retailer's Uniqlo U line, or its range of more fashion-forward essentials.
On Tuesday, Fast Retailing announced that it had even further extended its relationship with Lemaire by taking a minority stake in the label. While the conglomerate did not reveal specific terms of the transaction, Business of Fashion reports that "there is no plan to make Lemaire a subsidiary of Fast Retailing." (Fast Retailing owns six brands in addition to Uniqlo, including Theory and Helmut Lang.) Additionally, Christophe Lemaire has renewed his contract with Fast Retailing for five years.
"Our appointment of Mr. Christophe Lemaire two years ago was timed to coincide with the opening of our new R&D Center in Paris and the launch of Uniqlo U. This followed a successful initial collaboration, when I was impressed with the outstanding talent of Mr. Lemaire and his experience as a designer," said Chairman, President & CEO of Fast Retailing Tadashi Yanai. "I am pleased to deepen our partnership with Mr. Lemaire even more, and I hope that our new level of involvement will help to facilitate further growth and development of the brand Lemaire."
Prior to launching Lemaire with Tran, Christophe Lemaire cut his teeth while interning at Christian Lacroix, Yves Saint Laurent and Thierry Mugler, and also held artistic director roles at both Lacoste and from 2010-2014, Hermès. More recently, he's played a sizable role on Uniqlo's design front, with his team also responsible for creating the sportswear worn by Uniqlo's global brand ambassadors, such as golf's Adam Scott and tennis' Roger Federer.
"Working with Uniqlo has proven extremely stimulating," said Christophe Lemaire in a statement. "I have deep respect for Mr. Yanai's LifeWear philosophy, and we share a common vision of what clothes should be: democratic, functional and qualitative for people in everyday life."