Photo: Andreas Branch, courtesy Patrick McMullan.
Mug designed by Marie Roberts.
Shoelaces designed by Ken Kagami.
Mug and cup designed by Marie Roberts.
Masking tape designed by Tadanori Yokoo.
Cutting board designed by Starlee Kine.
Japanese clothing retailer Uniqlo is celebrating 10 years in New York’s SoHo by teaming up with legendary downtown dealer Jeffrey Deitch on a series of affordable art objects.
“Art for All,” a title lifted from Gilbert and George’s catchphrase, will manifest as two pop-up shops—at Uniqlo’s SoHo store and its second flagship on 34th street—filled with 65 commissioned objects, all priced at less than $100.
The limited-edition objects will range from cartoon-adorned shoelaces by Ken Kagami, to a cutting board with instructions for crying by Starlee Kine, to rolls of colorful pictorial masking tape by Tadanori Yokoo.
“I have believed in ‘art for all’ since the beginning of my career,” Deitch said in a statement. “The goal of my partnership with Uniqlo is to work with some of the world’s greatest artists and create art products that everyone can collect.”
As Deitch told Business of Fashion, he is a longtime friend of John Jay, president of global creative at Fast Retailing, Uniqlo’s parent company. So when the brand wanted to do something to get in touch with New York’s artistic past, and share it with Uniqlo’s mass audience, Deitch was a natural choice.
“Jeffrey Deitch’s idea of paying homage to the original ‘Art for All’ concept by Gilbert & George using affordable and collectable objects and ephemera gives Uniqlo a fresh experience, offering art through the artist’s personal concept of accessibility,” Jay said.
Uniqlo already has a partnership with MoMA in New York. It began in 2004 with a series of t-shirts printed with Andy Warhol designs, and was followed by t-shirts featuring the work of Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Barbara Kruger, Roy Lichtenstein, and Juergen Teller, among others.
But this is the first time Uniqlo customers can buy newly-created art objects at its stores, rather than wearing artsy designs they already know and love.
“Art for All” pop-up stores will launch on January 20 and run until February 16.
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