Following the success of the first collaboration between UNIQLO and Mame Kuroguchi this summer, the two Japanese forces of style reunite for a brand-new series. This collection incorporates sophisticated designs that enhance the curvaceous silhouette of the female physique, offering extraordinary comfort with UNIQLO's advanced technology, the contoured 3D knit cardigan. All items employ soft AIRism cotton and mesh that prevents perspiration even under warm winter days. Elegant curves, beautiful back styling, and other sophisticated details that accentuate feminine beauty shine through the collection.
It brings me joy to contribute meaningfully to women’s lifestyles through innerwear. I devoted a lot of thought to enhancing details and making fine adjustments to add beauty and comfort. I wanted to capture the essence of the feminine physique and celebrate it with natural curves. A desire to make this collection accessible to women everywhere was a constant consideration. I’m pleased with the results. - Maiko Kurogouchi.
This time, Maiko shares her thoughts on the timeless collection.
What were your key considerations in creating winter innerwear, such as regarding fabric selection?
"In view of significant differences between outdoor and indoor temperatures in winter these days, we employed AIRism cotton fabric to maintain comfortable even in winter, when layering items causes perspiration."
Can you share your thoughts on this season’s colour palette and what you hope to express with the Fall/Winter collection?
"A key component of this collaboration is that the colours remain simple, basic and easy to style. For the Fall/Winter collection, I imagined a colour palette based on warm gray tones that would go beautifully with any layered style in winter."
You mentioned in an interview that for the previous collection you made a point of having a diverse colour scheme. Did such a factor also inform you this time?
"Diversity underpins the entire UNIQLO and Mame Kurogouchi collection. We aimed to create LifeWear for all women everywhere."
The theme of this collaboration is the ‘seamless transition between innerwear and clothes.’ How is that theme expressed in this season’s line?
"During the cold months, we layer clothes and bundle up to stay warm, but once we enter a heated room, we find ourselves perspiring. My hope was to create a line of innerwear that can be worn under sweaters and cardigans, but also functions beautifully as clothes. My belief is that innerwear can be versatile, allowing for wider styling options. That is the aim of this collection and what I mean when I say ‘seamless transition.’"
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What are the design features of new items (cardigans and turtleneck knits) in the collection?
"Turtleneck sweaters are a winter staple for me and probably for most other women. Combined with the basic styling, 3D knit enhances the figure wonderfully. Simplicity was the focus of updates to the cardigan and other pieces."
What item is most meaningful to you in the collection, and why?
"It is the turtleneck knit for the same reason as above. Turtleneck sweaters are a winter staple for me and probably for most other women. Combined with the basic styling, 3D knit enhances the figure wonderfully. Simplicity was the focus of updates to the cardigan and other pieces. We devoted a lot of time to development."
Did you focus on anything in particular, such as the material used, to create this line of winter items?
"In the winter, we experience temperature changes throughout the day, moving from the chilly outdoors to heated indoor rooms. We’re also wearing layers and layers of clothing. With Uniqlo’s AIRism Cotton material, we were able to create items that stay dry and comfortable all day."
Why is the lineup smaller than that for all seasons?
"That is because we wanted to focus on innerwear, which is central to this collaboration. Having offered innerwear in the first season, we wanted to keep offering it because I think continuity is important. We slightly updated the cuts of some items from the first season to make the lineup even more sophisticated and beautiful."
The Spring-Summer collection was very well received. How have you learned from collaborating with UNIQLO?
"I have been very fortunate to contribute to women’s lifestyles through innerwear. I consider it important to keep making the collection more beautiful and comfortable for women through minor updates that add confidence to their days."
You held your first solo exhibition at the Nagano Prefectural Art Museum several months ago to celebrate the 10th anniversary of your brand. What has the decade been like for the Mame Kurogouchi brand? How do you think it will fare in the next 10 years?
"I thank the factories and craftspeople who make our apparel, wholesalers, and our customers for making it possible for us to progress this far. I would also like to explore what we can achieve as a fashion brand as part of the apparel industry, carefully plotting a path for each item of clothing to safeguard Japanese techniques that are fading away. Through the efforts of Mame Kurogouchi, I look to illuminate Japanese craftsmanship from various angles and bolster the industry. What fascinates me about making apparel is that you can mass-produce beautiful pieces and make them accessible to so many people. I believe that the key to our future activities will be a free and sophisticated integration of careful, low-tech handiwork and high technology."
What styling recommendations can you share?
"I designed the turtleneck knit for coordinating when tucked in or untucked. When the piece is tucked in, your arms and wrists look slender and delicate. Untucked, the curve of the hem flatters the hips beautifully. Worn by itself or layered, this item will work very well with your wardrobe."
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During the year, you present your work through the Mame Kurogouchi seasonal collection, a pre-collection, Mame Kurogouchi Basics, and your collaboration with UNIQLO. What approaches do you take with these lines? How do your stances vary? Does your thinking differ?
"I don’t reset my approach. I always create from within, layering my ideas to produce the collection."