James Jean for Prada, UNIQLO, and Jordan Brand — Friday Briefing

This week's Friday briefing looks at some of the recent events that have transpired in creative culture with a bit of context to help you understand their importance. We look at MAEKAN Member James Jean's recent work for Prada, UNIQLO's latest mega office in Tokyo, and Jordan Brand's first ever Chinese basketball athlete signing. As always, if you have any comments or insights, feel free to share them with our Slack community.

<p>Some of James Jean&#8217;s previous work for Prada, &#8220;Trembled Blossoms,&#8221; 2007.</p>

Some of James Jean’s previous work for Prada, “Trembled Blossoms,” 2007.

1. James Jean for Prada

In between his own print releases (including our own collaboration), James Jean has transcended art, fashion and product collaboration with his signature work. He returns as a collaborator with Prada after a previous project creating murals for the Italian fashion house’s Epicenter stores in both New York and Los Angeles, alongside his previous “Trembled Blossoms” project for the luxury brand. The inspirations behind the design were to create a world of fantasy, which translated into a surreal rabbit print and a Liberty pattern seen on pantsuits and parkas.

 

Why Does This Collaboration Matter?

Fashion designers have even greater reach as forging relationships with celebrities and influencers has become more important to brand strategy. With the introduction of James Jean once again, Prada has a formidable artist who boasts a following of over 650K on Instagram. It’s a win-win for both sides.

For more information on the Prada Resort 2018 Collection, head over to WWD.

2. UNIQLO City Rethinks How a Traditional Office Space Should Work

Earlier this year, we were some of the first guests at the new UNIQLO City in Tokyo. Located in a relatively remote part of Tokyo known as Ariake, the offices are a consolidation of all things Uniqlo. While the Japanese retailer will still maintain satellite offices across Tokyo and the world, this new compound will continue to optimize the fast fashion retailer’s emphasis on speed, precision, and tech.

The Stats —

  • Opened in 2017
  • Over 1,000 employees on the ground floor alone
  • UNIQLO City brings together merchandising, design, R&D, marketing, production, planning, sales, and I.T. for the first time ever
  • The grounds occupy over one city block

The Design & Purpose —

  • Portland’s Allied Works Architecture designed the building
  • Goal was to create areas of openness while still retaining purpose
  • The library is overseen by Book Director Yu Nakazawa and features over 3,000 books and magazines
  • The likes of Creative Director John C. Jay and CEO Tadashi Yanai have specially curated displays
  • Some key “town squares” or places of congregation include: Ariake Café (coffee), the Great Hall (for presentations upwards of 1,300 people), the Answer Lab (featuring four giant screens and 24 monitors for presentations), and the Reading Room (library)

For more information on Uniqlo City, head over to Monocle.

3. Jordan Brand Welcomes Its First-Ever Chinese Basketball Athlete

Jordan Brand celebrates its 20th anniversary with the unveiling of its first Chinese basketball athlete, Guo Ailun. The 23-year-old point guard has been one of the Chinese Basketball Association’s brightest talents and his signing is an important cultural step forward for Jordan brand.

Reading Between the Lines —

Nike and Jordan Brand, and to a degree most brands in China lack a concrete strategy that involves building a foundation for the future. The predominate interest of sneaker buyers in China involve price, aesthetics, and resell factors. There lies an inherent difficulty in engaging consumers on a more profound level and the hope is that Jordan Brand and the visibility of Guo Ailun will enable Jordan Brand to create early connections with the growing basketball fan and consumer base.

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