Text by Kee | Photo courtesy of Uniqlo
Uniqlo and designer Jil Sander first collaborated in 2009

2009 was one heck of a wild year: Barack Obama became the 44th President of the United States of America, Kanye West’s on-stage admission to Taylor Swift about how happy he was for her before you-know-what-happened, and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin taught us about the importance of having hindsight when being photographed shirtless whilst horseback riding. Fashion-wise, an arguably underrated creative moment happened in 2009 too: Uniqlo collaborated with designer Jil Sander. It was a watershed moment for the Japanese label in its plot to squeeze into the fast fashion space dominated by brands like Zara, H&M, and Gap. The collaborative series known as +J landed Uniqlo its first big global push that saw the fashion set lining up – no, for real – to get a piece of Sander’s down-to-earth proposals. In the debut collection, 40 wares championing minimalism helped to inform the wardrobes of many and also seeded the idea of what was later known in fashion as normcore. Whilst +J was discontinued in 2011 – albeit for a best of compilation series in 2014 – this year has proven just as wild as 11 years ago which loosely justifies Uniqlo’s decision to bring back +J for another run this fall. Erm, thank you, pandemic?

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