Recently there has been some excitement on the internet about the Liberty collection at Uniqlo. Before I start on my review of the offer here are three disclaimers:
- Liberty is my favourite shop
- I generally dislike Liberty prints because they are muted colours, too ditsy (small), and expensive
- I do like Liberty prints that are stronger colours and larger prints
- I really like Uniqlo clothes especially for keeping warm in
Some of the early information looked promising. Nice big prints in bright colours. So I was excited, particularly as Uniqlo items are generally much more keenly priced than Liberty themselves. We live near Oxford Street so I went to the flagship store last week when the clothes first came in. There were lots of shoppers milling around, turning the T shirts overs, unfolding the culotte-shorts, shaking shirts open. And a few harassed sales girls refolding in double-quick time.
I held the poster aloft.
Have you got anything in these colours?
I said, pointing to the background. The “background” was used as wallpaper on columns in that part of the shop. The young woman looked confused.
No, it’s just the background.
She pointed at some light, dreary, greyish items. Muted pastels.
So here is what you could have actually got. Look at the clothes, not the wall paper. I know some people will like the traditional prints but to me it was oh so disappointing. They look like Pyjamas – pale and uninteresting. And the slippers – I wouldn’t wear them if they were free on an aeroplane.
There was one item that was brighter – gilets and jackets in pink or blue. I might wear a gilet (probably not), but if I did I don’t think I would reverse it and wear the pattern on the outside. The only thing I was tempted by was the nylon bag that the gilets came in.
You have always been able to buy Liberty print blouses and other items in Liberty. I was hoping that Uniqlo – the modern, innovative,Japanese company might have created something a bit more edgy or youthful. There are surely some amazing, fabulous prints in the archive collection – some of the “background” prints are super. Maybe Liberty only let Uniqlo use their most boring, instantly recognisable prints because they wanted everyone to well, recognise them. Wasted opportunity.