I have been working with the people at Uniqlo, the clothing brand that’s planting buoyant stores full of quirky basics across the planet, since they asked me to produce a collection for them in 2012. It has been one of my most exciting collaborations. From the start, I felt that we were all on the same page. They understood my work in a very flattering way, and they have a great sense of humor, which seems to be quite a rarity in the fashion world.
Yanai is clearly an inspirational leader, and Uniqlo is a tribute to him and his management style, which is so rarely seen in a large corporation. He allows his team to be confident enough to let the designers feel free to show their personality, and he is intent on producing good products, at the right price, that people want. It’s refreshing to not get bogged down in a complex hierarchy, and I have been given complete freedom to create exactly the sort of designs that I would like. I was even allowed to design the shop windows, which was a first for me and was a real treat.
Birtwell is a veteran British textile designer
Next Sam Yagan