22 April 2011

UT, UniQlo T-Shirts: A Review

Brand new 2011 collections

Just in time for the impending summer sun, UniQlo have once again teamed up with a range of designers, artists, photographers and well-known brands to produce their new printed t-shirt collections for men and women. With a wide variety of designs, each collection is a celebration of our modern culture.

Launched in April 2007 at a Harajuku store, the UT Project began with printed t-shirts packaged in plastic cylinders similar to tennis ball containers, which customers could take from rows of steel shelves just as they would do with products in a supermarket. Unfortunately, this quirky means of t-shirt shopping is not available in UK stores, but you'll still find the same great printed t-shirts awaiting your eager perusal.

This year, designs for women include Tweety, Carebears and the soft patterns of Franche Lippée, while Naruto manga, Mickey Mouse and Dragonball Z, for example, can be found emblazoned on t-shirts for men. For both sexes, however, there is also corporate collaboration - a series of t-shirts incorporating logos and designs from Japanese and other foreign companies.

The variety of designs is outstanding, and with prices ranging from £7.99 - £12.99, you'd be grabbing a sure bargain. I personally favour the t-shirts from the men's Disney collection, featuring an old-style Mickey Mouse with famous captions and slogans. There is also a Cath Kidston collection for women I find cute, which incorporates Cath Kidston's famous floral prints into bleached designs. Sales from this particular collection will also go to help the Japanese Organization for International Cooperation in Family Planning (JOICFP), which funds a safe motherhood program in Zambia.

However, looking at this year's designs, I do feel the men's collections are much stronger than women's. Although the idea is that women maintain a sense of femininity in the clothes they wear, the designs need not be so simple or subtle. For example, Naruto and One Piece manga t-shirts for men include bold prints, which I believe should be reflected in the women's collections too. Of course, one solution is that women purchase men's t-shirts, which - with the recent introduction of size XXS - could be feasible, but UniQlo should provide bolder prints for women specifically.

Nonetheless, the current collections for both men and women this year are superb in their own rights. Although I have not purchased a printed t-shirt on the two recent occasions I could have done so, I will most probably order a t-shirt or two online very soon. With summer on its way, I'd recommend you do the same.

(To view this year's UT collections, visit the UniQlo website)

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