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Brand: UNIQLO U
Season: Fall/Winter 2021
Buy: UNIQLO’s website and stores from mid-September
Editor’s Notes: Christophe Lemaire knows his way around a closet. UNIQLO U, the elevated UNIQLO collection overseen by Lemaire, is demonstrative of the French designer’s knack for classic clobber stylized to a knife’s edge, once again evidenced by UNIQLO U FW21.
Mainline UNIQLO gets the job done, as far as uncomplicated fast fashion goes, but it’s the Japanese conglomerate’s designer partnerships that really distinguish it from rival companies. Who else is collaborating with JW Anderson, Jil Sander, and Roger Federer?
Where UNIQLO U succeeds most clearly is when it demonstrates a very specific sense of stylishness, when its output is more pointed than typical UNIQLO offerings. For instance, you can always walk into any UNIQLO to pick up a fleecy hoodie; with UNIQLO U, you get a heavier and boxier hoodie, one in a more specific palette.
Speaking of tones, Lemaire’s team is again milling earth tones to great effect this season, imagining trench coats, casual suits, tunics, fleece jackets, knitwear, T-shirts, and trousers in varying dusty hues. The versatile shades all blend together in service of modular dressing, utilizing slightly different beige hues to develop subtle contrasts for distinction.
It’s okay to dress anonymously — in fact, in our era of great excess, there’s almost more power in dressing down than styling crazy overt outfits. In that regard, UNIQLO U’s dependability shines; it consistently delivers stuff that’s appreciably simple, without skimping on style. It’s not revolutionary, but UNIQLO U is reliable and that’s certainly worth something.