Functional Dressing As A Way Forward

Creative director of Uniqlo, Rebekka Bay (pictured right) on how the near future will dress: timeless, cross-seasonal and ever-evolving.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel
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It’s bliss when Rebekka Bay, the creative director of Uniqlo Global Innovation Center in New York, doesn’t have to think about what to wear to work, lunch dates or concert dates. Better yet if she can wear the same outfit throughout the day and not have to head home to change. “When we lead such busy lives, who has time for that?” asks Bay.

There’s also the fact that with a world that’s “smaller”, climate change and flexible working spaces, the modern customer’s lifestyle needs have evolved, and will continue to evolve.

All these are not lost on the Danish Bay. When she joined the Japanese brand in 2017 after stints at Gap and Cos, she thought she wanted to bring more premium materials to the brand. Now, her focus is to create products that can adapt to change. “In the near future, I believe we’d want to increasingly live with less, and want our products to do more.”

And this is where innovation will lead the way for all of Uniqlo’s apparel range Lifewear.

“Innovation is about being ahead of people’s wants and needs, trying to understand what people want even before we know we want it,” says Bay. “Innovation (also) comes from wanting to make lives better, producing clothes in synthetic fabrics, like our 3-D premium knits, that check all the right boxes – they hold their shape, are super lightweight, dry within an hour, and do not wrinkle.

“We want our products to do more, to cater for more situations and different climates. So when customers wear Uniqlo, they are comfortable and confident.” – MS 
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All of Uniqlo’s Lifewear, including its seasonal collections (like S/S ’20) are designed for form and function: rayon blouses with bow-ties are wrinkle-resistant, and sweaters with puffy sleeves retain their shape courtesy of 3-D premium knits.