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Uniqlo and K-Pop Sensation BTS Team up for a BT21 Collaboration

The seven-member band printed their charming animated characters on a range of graphic T-shirts.
BTS at the 2018 Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas. Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

BTS at the 2018 Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas. Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Uniqlo knows a thing or two about elevating basics into highly sought-after items. In recent years, luxury labels Alexander Wang, Tomas Maier and Jil Sander have all partnered with the Japanese retailer on limited-edition designs, as have iconic artists KAWS and Keith Haring. For the company, collaborations provide a frisson of high fashion or a taste of a cultural phenomenon. Its latest collaboration with BT21, a group of animated characters created by K-pop band BTS, does the latter. 

BTS has reached chart-topping fame in the U.S. over the last two years and has even picked up a few Guinness World Records for their incredibly engaged — mostly millennial — fan base. Testifying to its popularity, particularly among the young, the group was featured on the cover of Time magazine, and in April, became the first Korean band to perform on "Saturday Night Live." 

The seven-member band gave birth to BT21 in September 2017, when they joined the Line Friends' Creators initiative, a project where the messaging app Line works with global artists on characters and product ideas. After several rounds of sketching and development, the boys landed on eight animated figures: Tata, Mang, Chimmy, RJ, Koya, Cooky, Shooky and Van. Each character represents a different member of the band, with the exception of Van, the gray-and-white space robot, who helps to protect BTS at all times. Since their release two years ago, BT21 stickers have recorded more than 28 million downloads and over 3.3 billion Twitter exposures globally. 

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For the unisex capsule, the all-male group worked with Uniqlo's UT imprint — the company's line dedicated exclusively to T-shirts — to print their uniquely charming characters, as well as their cool box logo, on a range of short-sleeve tees. Highlights include a pink tee starring the sassy rabbit Cooky, which features text that reads: "pinkish tough bunny," and a baby blue tee dedicated to the dancing pony Mang. 

The shirts will begin rolling out at Uniqlo stores and online on June 21 and are all priced at $14.90. You can shop them all in the gallery below. 

This article has been updated from its original version to include the exact launch date, as well as clarify that the character Van is not attached to any member of BTS, while Chimmy is Jimin's character.

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