Examining the Uniqlo-Lemaire Love Affair

Examining the Uniqlo-Lemaire Love Affair

The brands' symbiotic relationship proves that teamwork makes the dream work.

The brands' symbiotic relationship proves that teamwork makes the dream work.

Text: Tess Garcia

Like all good things, building a strong relationship takes time. The bond between Uniqlo and Lemaire is no exception.

The Business of Fashion observes that Japanese conglomerate Fast Retailing, which owns brands like Helmut Lang and Uniqlo, had acquired a minority stake in Parisian label Lemaire. Outlets like GQ were quick to point out that the investment didn't come out of nowhere; as it turns out, Uniqlo and Lemaire have a substantial relationship history.

In the fall of 2015, designers Christian Lemaire and Sarah-Linh Tran of Lemaire released their first collaborative collection for the brand to great anticipation from those longing for attainable, wearable innovation. Since that initial drop, Lemaire has been named an artistic director for Uniqlo and assisted in its Parisian development offices, in addition to designing for sponsored athletes like Roger Federer.

As the Frenchman continues to benefit from the creative exchange, so too does his eponymous brand. In 2017, sales at Lemaire hit $12 million, double from just 2 years earlier, with 45 percent sales coming from Uniqlo's home continent of Asia.

Lemaire's new five-year contract with Fast Retailing states that he will proceed to develop his Uniqlo U line, which is produced in smaller quantities than the main Uniqlo and Lemaire line, making it an expectedly rapid-seller.

"Working with Uniqlo has proven extremely stimulating," Lemaire told BoF. "I am proud of what my team and I have achieved at the Uniqlo Paris R&D Center these two years, and I am excited to pursue the development of the Uniqlo U line.”

We're practically tearing up — talk about relationship goals.



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